Nucleolar organizer regions (NORs) are loops of DNA which transcribes to ri-bosomal RNA. The NOR-related protein becomes visible in nucleus by a silver-staining technique under a light microscope, and it has been named argyrophilic protein of NOR (Ag-NOR). In various malignancies, the correlation between the proliferation potential of tumor cells or histological grade and the number of Ag-NORs has been reported. In this study, we investigated the Ag-NOR of acute leukemic cells and its relation to the in vivo proportion of bone marrow leukemic cells in DNA synthetic phase. The number of Ag-NORs in bone marrow leukemic cells was more than that in peripheral blood (means values 2.78 and 2.48, respectively, p < 0.01). This result shows that the number of Ag-NORs reflects the vigorous proliferative potential of bone marrow leukemic cells. However, no significant correlation was obtained between the number of Ag-NORs and the bromodeoxyuridine-labeling indices (r =0.2064). These results suggest that Ag-NOR might be one of the markers for cellular proliferation in leukemia, while DNA synthesis of leukemic cells do not seem to be directly related to Ag-NOR. In order to clarify the role of Ag-NOR in leukemia, further studies are needed.

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