Monday, 29 of May of 2023

Special Stains

The routine stain used in histology for initial examination and screening of tissues is the hematoxylin and eosin, or H&E, stain. Special stains are also commonly applied to tissue sections to demonstrate the presence of certain chemical substances. The following are special stains that are most commonly performed in our laboratory. If you do not see the stain you need on this list, please contact us and we will develop it for you. If you need any assistance selecting special stains for your project, please consult with Lauren Richey before submitting a special stains request.





Stain Notes
Alcian Blue Stains sulfated and carboxylated acid mucopolysaccharides and glycoproteins blue.
Giemsa Can be used to distinguish different parasites and fungi in blood.  Helps to differentiate basophils, eosinophils, neutrophils very easily.
Gomori Methenamine-Silver (GMS) Identifies fungal organisms by outlining cell walls black.
Gram Stain (Lillie Twort) Identifies Gram negative and Gram positive bacteria.
Masson Trichrome Stain                                                specify aniline blue or light green background for this stain
Nissl Substance (Cresyl Echt Violet) Identifies neurons and demonstrates loss of Nissl substance during injury.  Nissl substance stains blue/purple.
Oil Red O Must be done on frozen section. However, the tissue may be fixed in 10% NBF for a short time. Do not fix using alcohols, as this removes the neutral fats from the tissue.
PAS stains basement membranes, glycogen, fungal walls, certain mucins, pars intermedia of pituitary, colloid of thyroid. If used to demonstrate thickness of glomerular basement membranes, request a 2 micron thin section of kidneys for this stain.
PAS with and without diastase used to demonstrate glycogen. If glycogen is present, it will stain bright pink in tissues stained with PAS without diastase and will be absent from the same tissue in slides stained with PAS and diastase. Diastase digests glycogen from the sections.
Perl's Iron Detects the presence of iron in biopsy specimens.
Picrosirius Red Stains collagen red on a pale background.  Under polarization, larger collagen fibers are bright yellow/orange and thinner ones are green.
Verhoeff-van Gieson Stains elastic fibers.  Used primarily in arteries to show fine elastic fibers and elastic laminae.
Von Kossa Identifies the presence of calcium.