Lymph nodes & spleen, nonlymphoma
Lymph nodes-inclusions, pigment, ectopic cells or tissue

Topic Completed: 1 April 2014

Minor changes: 4 July 2020

Revised: 1 February 2019, last major update April 2014

Copyright: 2003-2021,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Gold deposits [title] lymph nodes

Jayalakshmi Balakrishna, M.D.
Abdelsalam Sharabi, M.D.
Page views in 2020: 92
Page views in 2021 to date: 5
Cite this page: Balakrishna J. Gold. website. Accessed January 25th, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Colloidal gold is used for anti-tumor therapy, to treat autoimmune diseases, and for drug delivery (Wikipedia: Colloidal gold [Accessed 22 June 2018])
  • Lymphadenopathy and lymph node infarction are uncommon complications of gold injections; occur via accumulation of gold particles in macrophages
  • Cervical, axillary, mesenteric lymph nodes, depending on route of administration
Clinical features
  • Tender enlarged lymph nodes
  • Benign process with resolution of symptoms on withdrawal of gold treatment
  • Biopsy
  • Darkfield microscopy and autometallography methods demonstrate gold nanoparticles 15 to 50 nm
  • Polymorphonuclear neutrophilia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia
  • Hepatic toxicity
Radiology description
Case reports
Gross description
  • Extensive necrosis of lymph node
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Subtotal, or complete infarction with peripheral rim of organizing granulation tissue in region of subcapsular sinus
  • Small focus of residual viable lymphoid tissue has features of follicular hyperplasia
  • Center of node has ghost outlines of necrotic cells
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Infarcted tissue

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Reticulin - preservation of nodal architecture

Positive stains
  • Immunohistochemical stains confirm the reactive nature of the process
Differential diagnosis
  • Lymphoma
  • Vascular thrombosis, infections, and mechanical pressure can also cause infarction of lymph nodes
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