Image analysis of the chromatin organization in the nuclear domains of freeze fractured hepatocytes and lymphocytes

Fiorenzo Marinelli, Elisabetta Falcieri, Stefano Squarzoni, Rosalba Del Coco, Nicoletta Zini, Lucia Manzoli, Nadir Maris Maraldi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The complex organization of the interphase nucleus can be analyzed, by way of thin sectioning and also freeze-fracture. This approach has previously been utilized in association with image analysis to quantitatively describe the organization of isolated rat liver nuclei and nuclear matrices. The main nuclear domains which, in section, present marked differences due to their electron-density, can be identified in replicas with more complex procedures, based on the quantitative evaluation of the number of particles per unit area and mainly by using image analysis. A quantitative analysis of the nuclear substructures has been performed by way of image analysis on in situ nuclei of freeze-fractured cells presenting marked differences in the heterochromatin quantity, such as hepatocytes and lymphocytes. The replicated nuclear particles have been classified according to their diameter and the obtained histograms have been quantitatively evaluated. The nuclear domains, heterochromatin, interchromatin, nucleolus, present characteristic ratios among the three main classes of particles; that is, ribonucleoproteins, solenoid filaments and solenoid fibre aggregates. The typical patterns of the nuclear domains can be further stressed by selecting a single class of particles and by examining its topographic localization. While interchromatin and nucleolar domains present a similar quantitative pattern in hepatocytes and lymphocytes, the heterochromatin of lymphocytes contains a significative higher percentage of solenoid aggregates than that of hepatocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-119
Number of pages13
JournalBiology of the cell / under the auspices of the European Cell Biology Organization
Issue numberC
Publication statusPublished - 1990


  • freeze-fracture
  • hepatocyte
  • image analysis
  • lymphocyte
  • nucleus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

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