Tissue cultures of HeLa cells were grown in media containing colloidal gold, and after various intervals, the cells were fixed, embedded, and sectioned for electron microscopy. Uncoated grids with small holes were used in many of the experiments.
Intracellular particles of gold were identified in areas surrounded by single membranes, in moderately dense granules, in globoid bodies, and in the cytoplasmic matrix. Gold particles were not found in typical mitochondria, Golgi complex, ergastoplasm (granular forms of endoplasmic reticulum), or nuclei.
The phenomenon of pinocytosis was considered to be the most likely means by which the gold particles were ingested, and the locations of gold particles appeared to have significance concerning theories that membranous organelles of the cytoplasm may be derived from the cell membrane.