Transmission electron microscopic studies of synthetic and natural monosodium urate crystals dried on formvar coated grids showed identical internal structures in all crystals. At higher magnification the crystals' surface showed angular or wavy irregularities, and more rarely some crystals appeared to have other tiny crystals on the surface. Protein-like surface coating was not observed except in crystals from one asymptomatic patient in whom synovial fluid was loaded with monosodium urate crystals, but no inflammatory cells were present. Heated synthetic monosodium urate crystals retained the ultrastructural characteristics in their interior but they lost their needle or rod-like shape. Transmission electron microscopic study of monosodium urate crystals dried on formvar coated grids provides a quick method of investigating crystal ultrastructure.
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