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

Instructions to Authors

Revised September 16, 2020

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 a paper that has been published or accepted, or is under consideration for publication, will not be considered. 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 to be a new submission. The Editor-in-Chief will make all final decisions regarding acceptance.

2. Categories

Six types of manuscripts will be considered:

Regular Articles report complete findings of original research and should be presented in the following order: Abstract, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results and Discussion. There are no restrictions on 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 that required for 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 discussions of selected topics in histochemistry and cytochemistry. An abstract is required. Neither a Materials and Methods section nor a Results section is required. There are no restrictions on 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. Neither a Materials and Methods section nor a Results section is required. There are no restrictions on 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 rapid publication. Rapid communications should be prepared in the same style as that required for Regular Articles, but they 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 are for discussion of topical scientific matters, including those published in Acta Histochemica et Cytochemica, and for 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 ( We do not accept any manuscripts submitted as an E-mail attachment or by post. When submitting a manuscript, the author can suggest 3 to 5 potential reviewers with expertise in the area of the study. However, the choice of reviewers by the editors will not be restricted by the author’s suggestions for reviewers.

Before submission, make sure to read the following fields carefully so that your manuscript will be structured and formatted according to the journal style and requirements. A manuscript should be accompanied by a cover letter that briefly describes the significance of the study.

4. Manuscript Organization

General instructions

The manuscript should be double-spaced throughout, A4 (210 × 297 mm) size, with approximately 3 cm margin on all sides. All pages in the manuscript 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. After acceptance, all manuscripts will be forwarded to the language editor, but this does not diminish the responsibility of the author to pay attention to the linguistic accuracy of the manuscript. Please take special care in regard to the following points:

  • Type the text unjustified and without breaking words with hyphens.
  • Use only underline (for italic), bold, subscript, and superscript.
  • Avoid multiple fonts, style or ruler changes, or graphics inserted into 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 to exceed 45 letters and spaces; individual(s), address, and telephone and fax numbers to whom correspondence concerning 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, cited with asterisks, and separated from the text with a line.

Abstract and Key words

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


The text should be arranged in the following sections: Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, and 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 in 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 have been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments, and must contain 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 of animal experiments must state that the “Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (” was followed, as well as specific national laws where applicable.
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 a rate of ¥5,000 per page. Some accepted manuscripts will be forwarded to a professional English proofreader at the discretion of the Editor. In this case, the author will have to pay for the additional 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. Extensive changes at the proof 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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