A Nissl body, also known as Nissl or tigroid substance, is a large granular body found in neurons. These granules are rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER) with rosettes of free ribosomes, and are the site of protein synthesis. It was named after Franz Nissl, a German psychiatrist who invented the Nissl staining method.
Nissl bodies can be demonstrated by a method of selective staining developed by Nissl (Nissl staining), using an aniline stain to label extranuclear RNA granules. This staining method is useful to localize the cell body, as it can be seen in the soma and dendrites of neurons, though not in the axon or axon hillock. Due to RNA's basophilic ("base-loving") properties it is stained blue by this method.
The ultrastructure of Nissl bodies suggests they are primarily concerned with the synthesis of proteins for intercellular use.
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- Nissl Bodies at the US National Library of Medicine Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
- Histology image: 04103loa — Histology Learning System at Boston University - "Nervous Tissue and Neuromuscular Junction: spinal cord, cell bodies of anterior horn cells"