Acta Histochemica et Cytochemica (AHC) – Acta Histochemica et Cytochemica (AHC)

Instructions to Authors

Revised January 1, 2024

1. Editorial Scope

Acta Histochemica et Cytochemica is the official online journal of the Japan Society of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry. It is intended primarily for rapid publication of concise, original articles in the fields of histochemistry and cytochemistry. Manuscripts oriented towards methodological subjects that contain significant technical advances in these fields are also welcome. Manuscripts in English are accepted from investigators in any country, whether or not they are members of the Japan Society of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry. Manuscripts should be original work that has not been previously published and is not being considered for publication elsewhere with the exception of abstracts. Manuscripts with essentially the same content as papers previously published, accepted, or being considered for publication are not acceptable. All submitted papers will be peer reviewed by at least two referees selected by an appropriate Associate Editor. Acceptance is based on scientific significance, originality, and clarity. When required, a revised manuscript should be submitted within 3 months, otherwise it will be considered a new submission. The Editor-in-Chief will make all final decisions regarding acceptance.

2. Categories

Six types of manuscripts are considered for review:

Regular Articles report complete findings of original research and should be presented in the following order: Abstract, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion. There is no limit to the number of pages and figures.

Notes illustrate preliminary observations or other data that are suitable for presentation in a short form. Notes should be prepared in the same style as in Regular Articles. The Results and Discussion sections may be combined. The length should not exceed 2 printed pages.

Reviews should provide timely, concise, and critical discussion of selected topics in histochemistry and cytochemistry. An abstract is required. Materials and Methods and Results sections are not required. There is no limit to the number of pages or figures. Before preparing a review article, prospective authors should consult with the Editor.

Technical Advancements are intended to highlight timely technical reviews in histochemistry and cytochemistry. An abstract is required. Materials and Methods and Results sections are not required. There is no limit to the number of pages or figures. All Technical Advancements undergo regular peer review.

Rapid Communications are short reports of outstanding or novel findings with implications that are general and important enough to qualify for early publication. Rapid communications should be prepared in the same style as in Regular Articles, but must not exceed 5 printed pages. Authors should submit one copy of the manuscript (including original figures) directly to the Editor-in-Chief or the Associate Editor, but only after obtaining the agreement of the editor after communication by e-mail, letter, fax or telephone. Another copy should be submitted to the Editorial Office The editor will serve, throughout the reviewing procedure, as Managing Editor for the manuscript.

Letters to the Editor discuss topical scientific matters, including those published in Acta Histochemica et Cytochemica, and other miscellaneous contributions. Letters, usually not exceeding 2 printed pages, will be accepted subject to editorial review and will be printed in the next available issue of the Journal.

3. Manuscript Submission

All manuscripts should be submitted through Editorial Manager ( Manuscripts submitted as E-mail attachments or by post are not acceptable. When submitting a manuscript, the author may suggest 3 to 5 potential reviewers with specific expertise in the area of the study; however, the editors are not restricted to the author’s suggestion.

Before submission, authors should ascertain that the manuscript is structured and formatted according to the journal style and other requirements. Manuscripts should be accompanied by a cover letter briefly describing the significance of the study.

4. Manuscript Organization

General instructions

The manuscript should be double-spaced throughout on A4 (210 × 297 mm) sheets with an approximately 3 cm margin on all sides, and all pages should be numbered consecutively. The manuscript should have a uniform style and should be submitted in the correct journal format. It should also be carefully proofread for grammar, spelling and punctuation. Authors who are not native speakers of English should have their manuscripts checked by scientists whose native language is English. Special care with regard to the following points is requested:

  • Type the text unjustified and without hyphenation.
  • Use only underline (for italic), bold, subscript, and superscript font.
  • Avoid multiple fonts, styles, ruler changes, or graphics within the text.
  • Use line breaks (carriage returns) only to end headings and paragraphs, not to rearrange lines.

Manuscript style

Generally, papers should be divided into the following sections: Title page, Abstract, Text, Acknowledgments, References, Tables, Figures. Start each subdivision on a new page.

Title page

The first page of the manuscript should include: title of the paper; full name(s) of author(s); institutional affiliation(s) and complete address(es); a running title not exceeding 45 letters and spaces; address and telephone numbers of the individual to whom all correspondence regarding the manuscript should be sent; grants awarded; the present address of the author(s), if different from the address given above; and footnotes containing dedications to persons and organizations. Footnotes should be arranged at the bottom of the page, marked with asterisks, and separated from the text with a line.

Abstract and Keywords

Each paper should begin with an informative abstract of not more than 200 words, followed by a maximum of five keywords. Citations of scientific papers within the abstract should be avoided; if included, however, the full citation of the source should be given.


The text should be arranged in the sections as follows: Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion. If a section is divided into subsections, short, informative subheadings should be written with a single underline. Genus and species names should be included with a single underline for printing in an italic font.


References to literature should appear in the text as numbers between square brackets [3]. Only papers that have been published or are in press may be cited; personal communications can only be included by permission; and unpublished data should not be referenced but may be included within the text. The references at the end of the text should be listed in alphabetical order according to the surname of the first author. Two or more references to the same first author should be in chronological order. The list of references must be formatted as follows:

a) Journal articles: name(s) of author(s) followed by initials (list all authors if six or less; otherwise, list the first six followed by “et al.”); year of publication; complete title; name of the journal as abbreviated in the Serial Sources for the BIOSIS Data Base published by BioSciences Information Service of Biological Abstracts; volume number; first and last page numbers.

1. Iwata, K., and Ozawa, H. (2014) Expression of glucocorticoid receptor and coactivators in ependymal cells of male rats. Acta Histochem. Cytochem. 47; 165–174.

2. Osamura, R. Y., Miyai, S., Egashira, N., Takekoshi, S., Yamazaki, M., Sanno, N., et al. (2004) Application of genetic engineering technologies for the study of pituitary development and neoplasms. Acta Histochem. Cytochem. 36; 249–254.

b) Books: name(s) of author(s) followed by initials; year of publication; complete title; volume and edition if appropriate; publisher; place of publication.

2. Pearse, A. G. E. (1985) Histochemistry. Theoretical and Applied, vol. 2, Analytical Technology, 4th ed., Churchill Livingstone, London.

3. Tokuyasu, K. T. (1985) Immuno-cryoultramicrotomy. In “Immunolabelling for Electron Microscopy”, ed. by J. M. Polak and I. M. Varndell, Elsevier/North-Holland Biomedical Press, Amsterdam, pp. 71–82.

Citations in the text of Letters to the Editor should be made using the author’s name (for more than one author: use “first author’s name and et al.”) followed by the abbreviated name of journal, volume number, first page number, and year:
… earlier reports (Iino and Horiguchi, Acta Histochem. Cytochem. 39: 145, 2006) …
… developed by Matsuzaki et al. (Acta Histochem. Cytochem., 42: 159, 2009) reveal …

If you use EndNote, you can download the AHC EndNote style here.


All tables should be numbered consecutively in the text. Each table should be numbered separately (Table 1, Table 2, etc.). Supply a short explanatory title above the table, and table footnotes lettered a, b, c, etc., below the table. Do not use vertical lines.


All figures, including graphs, should be numbered consecutively in the text. For details, see the “Digital Art Guidelines”. The magnification should be clearly stated in figure legends for photographs.

Supplementary materials

Supplementary materials (such as movies) are permitted. All supplemental items should have a title with a legend that briefly describes the data shown.

Manuscript file format

We can accept the manuscript files in the following format;

  • Title page, Abstract, Text, Acknowledgments, References, Figure Legends: Microsoft Word
  • Tables: Microsoft Word or Excel
    *Do not embed photographs or image files of tables
  • Figures: TIFF, EPS, Bitmap; Microsoft PowerPoint, Word, and Excel; Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and PDF
  • Supplementary materials: mov, avi, mpg, mp3, mp4
    The files must be playable on computers with standard media players, such as QuickTime or Windows Media Player.

Terminology and Abbreviations

Scientific abbreviations and symbols should conform to those listed in the International Code for the Abbreviations of Title of Periodicals, ISO Recommendation R4 by the International Organization for Standardization. Chemical abbreviations of biological compounds should be the same as those recommended in “IUPAC-IUB Combined Commission on Biochemical Nomenclature, Abbreviations and Symbols for Chemical Names of Special Interest in Biological Chemistry, Revised Tentative Rules (1965),” in J. Biol. Chem. 241: 527–533, 1966. If unit abbreviations are used, the following are preferred: cm, mm, µm, nm, Å, g (not gm), ml (not cc or cm3), hr, min, sec, M, mM, N, %, etc. The nomenclature and units used for hormones should be in accordance with the recommendations of the successive International Conferences on Hormone Standardization.

5. Control experiments

Control experiments are required to confirm staining specificities. Examples of control experiments are given below. However, these examples are not necessarily adequate in all cases. Depending on the situation, please report proper control experiments that are essential for the study.

Immunohistochemistry: Incubations of tissue sections with PBS or normal sera derived from the same animal species from which the primary antibody was produced are examples of a negative control experiment. Use of tissue sections containing cells that are known to be positive for a primary antibody is an example of a positive control experiment. For commercially available or widely used antibodies, the authors may cite references that show their specificities. For strict examination of antibody specificity, a Western blotting study and/or an absorption test with the antigen are recommended.

In situ hybridization: Hybridization of tissue sections with a labeled sense probe and/or a non-labeled antisense probe is an example of a negative control experiment. Hybridization with a labeled antisense probe in the presence of an excess amount of homologous or heterologous non-labeled probe is another example of a control experiment to validate the specificity of probes. Digestion with RNase before hybridization is also acceptable as a control experiment.

Lectin histochemistry: Incubation of tissue sections with PBS instead of lectin is an example of a negative control experiment. Incubation of tissue sections with lectin that contains its corresponding inhibitory sugar is a strict negative control. Destruction of targeted glycan by an appropriate glycosidase is also acceptable as a negative control.

6. Ethics

Manuscripts submitted for publication should affirm that all procedures have been carried out in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments, and must include a statement to the effect that all human studies have been examined by the appropriate ethics committee, and that all participants have given their “Informed Consent” to participate in the study.

Reports on animal experiments must state that the “Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (”, as well as specific national laws where applicable, have been followed.

The editors reserve the right to reject manuscripts that do not comply with the above-mentioned requirements. The author will be held responsible for false statements or for failure to fulfill the above-mentioned requirements.

7. Similarity Check

We use iThenticate Similarity Check to detect text overlap and potential plagiarism in submitted manuscripts. All submissions will be screened using iThenticate Similarity Check for originality prior to the peer review process. If any form of plagiarism is found in a manuscript, it will be rejected without further consideration.

8. Conflicts of Interest

All authors of a submitted manuscript must declare whether there is any potential conflict of interest that may be related to the content of the manuscript, including funding, employment or personal financial interests. This information must be disclosed in the text of the manuscript under the Conflicts of Interest heading. If there are no conflicts of interest, then please state: “The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.” For more details on COI, please refer to the ICMJE COI form available in the “Conflicts of Interest” section at The corresponding author is responsible for the declarations of all authors.

9. Publication Charges

Authors will be charged at the rate of JPY5,000 per page for processing pages. Also, the following article processing charges are payable by authors:
-Standard rate: JPY100,000
-Members of the Japan Society of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry (JSHC): JPY50,000
Please note that the rate for Society members will be valid only when either the corresponding author or the first author is a member of JSHC. If you wish to join JSHC, please contact the society office at The annual membership fee for a general member is JPY10,000.
If you become a member of JSHC before your author proof, your article processing charge is charged as a JSHC member. Unless all such necessary fees have been paid in full, the manuscript will not be published (for researchers outside Japan).
Some accepted manuscripts will be forwarded to a professional English proofreader at the discretion of the Editor. Authors will bear all such relevant costs involved.

10. Proofs

Proofs are sent to the corresponding author by e-mail as a PDF. They should be corrected and returned to the editorial office within 48 hours of receipt by the author. Extensive changes at this stage are not permitted. Authors may be charged for correction of their non-typographical errors.

11. Reprints

Reprints can be ordered by returning the order forms provided with the proofs, and are produced by on-demand printing.

12. Copyright

When the manuscript is accepted for publication, the authors agree to automatically transfer the copyright to the Japan Society of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry and agree that the manuscript will not be published elsewhere in any language without the consent of the copyright holder.
Articles in Acta Histochemica et Cytochemica are published under the Creative Commons License (CC-BY-NC), which permits use, distribution and reproduction of the articles in any medium provided that the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.

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