What is the role of electron microscopic studies in the workup of Wilson disease?

Updated: Feb 14, 2019
  • Author: Richard K Gilroy, MBBS, FRACP; Chief Editor: Praveen K Roy, MD, AGAF  more...
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Electron microscopic studies on ultrathin sections reveal numerous electron-dense lysosomes and residual bodies. The elemental analysis in transmission electron microscopy with electron energy loss spectroscopy, and in scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive x-ray analysis, shows copper-specific signals of electron-dense accumulations inside these dark lysosomes and residual bodies.

The electron microscopic detection of copper-containing hepatocytic lysosomes is helpful in the diagnosis of the early stages of Wilson disease, in addition to the quantification of hepatic copper by atomic absorption spectrophotometry.

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