Fourier transform infrared microscopy identification of crystal deposits in tissues: clinical importance in various pathologies

Am J Clin Pathol. 1996 May;105(5):576-82. doi: 10.1093/ajcp/105.5.576.


The presence of crystal deposits in tissues is associated with various pathologies. Sometimes their identification is useful for understanding the etiology or the mechanism of the disorder. The authors applied Fourier transform infrared microscopy (FTIRM) to the molecular characterization of crystal deposits in tissue and compared the results with those provided by histologic studies using polarized light microscope and histochemical reactions. Twenty-five biopsies were investigated. In 10 cases, the results were in good agreement. In 15 cases only FTIRM could precisely identify the crystals. In three cases, this technique allowed to characterize dihydroxyadenine crystals revealing an adenine phosphoribosyltransferase deficiency previously undiagnosed in patients presenting severe chronic renal failure. In three cases, crystal deposition was related to drug therapy. In other cases, crystal identification was useful to understand the mechanism of the pathology responsible for tissue damage and crystal deposition.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adenine / analogs & derivatives
  • Adenine / analysis
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Apatites / analysis
  • Biopsy
  • Calcium Phosphates / analysis
  • Child, Preschool
  • Crystallization*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney / chemistry
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney Diseases / pathology
  • Kidney Transplantation / pathology
  • Male
  • Microscopy / methods*
  • Spectrophotometry, Infrared
  • Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared / methods*
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Apatites
  • Calcium Phosphates
  • 2,8-dihydroxyadenine
  • Adenine
  • calcium phosphate, dibasic, dihydrate