Semiquantitative analysis of lactoferrin deficiency in neutrophil polymorphonuclear leucocytes in various haematological and non-haematological disease was carried out by scoring polymorphonuclear leucocytes stained for lactoferrin by the immunoperoxidase method. The staining patterns for lactoferrin were classified into four types (0-III) based on the intensity of reaction, and the sum of the ratings of 100 polymorphonuclear leucocytes was considered as "lactoferrin score" with a possible range of 0-300. As a result, significantly low lactoferrin-scores were frequently observed in acute leukaemias and the acute phase of chronic leukaemias. Of 35 cases with leukaemias, lactoferrin-negative polymorphonuclear leucocytes (type 0) were observed in the following cases: eight cases of acute myelogenous leukaemia (8/14), a case of chronic myelogenous leukaemia (1/10) in blast crisis, one of acute promyelocytic leukaemia (1/1), one of acute monocytic leukaemia (1/2), and a case of chronic myelomonocytic leukaemia (1/2) in a transitional phase to an acute myelomonocytic leukaemia. In two cases of acute myelogenous leukaemia, in which the majority of polymorphonuclear leucocytes were negative for lactoferrin, ultrastructural cytochemical study revealed total lack of specific granules in these polymorphonuclear leucocytes. This suggests that lactoferrin is localised in the specific granules of neutrophils as has been postulated previously by others.
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