Nissl Body

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Nissl Body


(also called tigroid body), a condensed portion of the cytoplasm of a nerve cell. Nissl bodies were first described at the end of the 19th century by the German scientist F. Nissl.

Nissl bodies can be viewed under a light microscope after staining with methylene blue or other basic stains. They appear as rounded masses that occupy the entire body of the cell as well as the bases of the outgrowths. Electron microscopy reveals that the Nissl bodies contain aggregates of ribosomes and cisternae of the endoplasmic reticulum. Nissl substance, which forms the Nissl bodies, consists of ribonucleic acid (RNA), proteins, acid polysaccharides, and lipids; it participates actively in the synthesis of cell proteins.

Changes in the chemical composition, shape, and staining characteristics of Nissl bodies occur as a result of trauma to the nervous system, inflammatory or infectious diseases, poisoning, oxygen deprivation, or shifts in the function of the neurons.


Peters, A., S. Palay, and H. Webster. Ul’trastruktura nervnoi sistemy. Moscow, 1972. (Translated from English.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Special staining technique using Cresyl Fast Violet demonstrated the Nissl granules. The Nissl granules tend to decrease progressively with age.
The reduction of Nissl granules, which stain the rough endoplasmic reticulum and free ribosomes, suggests a significant decline in substance synthesis, possibly resulting in trophic deficiencies in the aged PCs.