The nature of iron deposits in haemophilic synovitis. An immunohistochemical, ultrastructural and X-ray microanalytical study

Virchows Arch A Pathol Anat Histopathol. 1984;404(1):75-85. doi: 10.1007/BF00704252.


Using a computerized electron-probe X-ray microanalytical technique to measure phosphorus/iron ratios we have defined the iron saturation of ferritin in vitro from prepared ferritin standards of known iron loading. This technique has been applied to the study of 5 haemophilic synovial membranes. At light microscope level the distribution and relationship of iron/ferritin were defined using Perls' reaction and an immunoperoxidase technique respectively. The synovia from all cases contained intra and extra-cellular deposits of Perls' positive material which were granular in nature in the most superficial synovial cells. There were increasing numbers of pheomorphic (1-12 micron diameter ovate bodies in the deeper synovial layers. Immunoperoxidase ferritin staining produced a strongly positive reaction in the granular material but the ovate bodies were negative with the exception of some peripheral staining. X-ray microanalysis showed the granular material to be highly iron saturated ferritin and the ovate bodies to be almost pure iron. We suggest that iron saturated ferritin in the synovial membrane could increase/perpetuate inflammation by promoting lipid peroxidation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Electron Probe Microanalysis
  • Ferritins / metabolism
  • Hemophilia A / complications*
  • Hemophilia A / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Synovitis / etiology
  • Synovitis / metabolism*
  • Synovitis / pathology


  • Ferritins
  • Iron