Auer rod

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Bone marrow aspirate showing acute myeloid leukemia with Auer rods in several blasts

Auer rods (or Auer bodies) are large, crystalline cytoplasmic inclusion bodies sometimes observed in myeloid blast cells during acute myeloid leukemia, acute promyelocytic leukemia, and high-grade myelodysplastic syndromes and myeloproliferative disorders. Composed of fused lysosomes and rich in lysosomal enzymes, Auer rods are azurophilic and can resemble needles, commas, diamonds, rectangles, corkscrews, or rarely granules.[1]


Although Auer rods are named for American physiologist John Auer,[2] they were first described in 1905 by Canadian physician Thomas McCrae, then at The Johns Hopkins Hospital,[3] as Auer himself acknowledged in his 1906 paper. Both McCrae and Auer mistakenly thought that the cells containing the rods were lymphoblasts.[4]

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  2. ^ Auer, John (1906). "Some hitherto undescribed structures found in the large lymphocytes of a case of acute leukaemia". American Journal of the Medical Sciences. 131 (6): 1002–1015. doi:10.1097/00000441-190606000-00008. ISSN 0002-9629.
  3. ^ McCrae, Thomas (February 1905). "Acute lymphatic leukaemia with a report of five cases". British Medical Journal. 1 (2304): 404–408. doi:10.1136/bmj.1.2304.404. PMC 2319598. PMID 20761949.
  4. ^ Bain, Barbara (August 2011). "Auer rods or McCrae rods?". American Journal of Hematology. 86 (8): 689. doi:10.1002/ajh.21978. PMID 21761434.

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