A comparison of proliferation markers (BrdUrd, Ki-67, PCNA) determined at each cell position in the crypts of normal human colonic mucosa

Eur J Histochem. 1996;40(2):89-100.


Samples of microscopically normal human sigmoid colon fixed in 70% ethanol from 15 patients who had received bromodeoxyuridine (BrdUrd) prior to surgery have been reanalyzed using a combination of proliferation markers. The specimens have been immunostained for proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and after microwave treatment, they have been stained for BrdUrd and Ki-67. The 15 patients selected comprised 5 patients whose mucosa previously gave high BrdUrd labelling indices in the crypt, 5 that gave median values for BrdUrd labelling and 5 that gave low values for bromodeoxyuridine labelling on a previous analysis using tissue fixed in 70% ethanol and formal saline and using a different antibody (Potten et al., 1992). The relative levels of labelling at each cell position in the crypts has been compared using the 3 proliferation markers with the data being compared with the BrdUrd labelling as a standard labelling for S phase cells. One objective was to see whether all three proliferation markers discriminated equally well between the three groups of patient samples. The data show that the distinction between high, medium and low values seen with BrdUrd labelling was retained when Ki-67 immunostaining was analysed. PCNA immunostaining resulted in high levels of labelling and the different levels of labelling seen with BrdUrd and Ki-67 were largely lost.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Bromodeoxyuridine / analysis*
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Colon / chemistry
  • Colon / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intestinal Mucosa / chemistry
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology*
  • Ki-67 Antigen / analysis*
  • Middle Aged
  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen / analysis*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Biomarkers
  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen
  • Bromodeoxyuridine