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Special Stain
Special Stains

Special Stains

Special Stains - In order to understand what a "special" stain is, you must first have an understanding on what a "routine" stain is. The Hematoxylin and Eosin (H&E) stain is the universal "routine" stain which has been used for over 100 years throughout the world. Simply put, the hematoxylin stains the nuclei blue and the eosin stains the cytoplasm pink. The H&E stain enables the pathologist to visualize the general morphology of the tissue , allowing for a diagnosis and prognosis of most histopathological conditions. With an H&E-stained slide, the pathologist can see most diseases, inflammation (both acute and chronic), mitosis, bacterial infections, necrosis, fibrosis, pigments and accumulations of proteins. In veterinary diagnostic histopathology, about 98% of the cases received can be diagnosed using the H&E-stained tissue section.

"Special" stains are used to differentiate specific components seen in the H&E-stained section. As an example, most pigments can be seen in the H&E-stained section but they all stain basically the same. To determine the makeup of the pigment, special stains are used to differentiate , for instance, copper from iron pigment. Bacteria can be seen within the H&E, but to differentiate what type of bacteria is it (gram positive vs. gram-negative), a "special" gram stain is used (gram-positive bacteria stains blue and gram-negative bacteria stains red).

Below is a short list of some of the more routinely requested "special" stains that we have on hand at MHS:

Bacterial Stains:

FITE’S METHOD FOR ACID FAST ORGANISMS
ZIEHL-NEELSEN METHOD FOR ACID FAST BACTERIA
BROWN AND BRENN METHOD FOR GRAM+ AND GRAM- BACTERIA
WARTHIN-STARRY METHOD FOR SPIROCHETES AND DONOVAN BODIES
CRESYL VIOLET ACETATE FOR HELICOBACTORPYLORI  

Fungal Stains:

GROCOTT’S METHOD FOR FUNGI (GMS)
McMANUS PAS METHOD FOR FUNGI  

Inclusion Body Stains:  

GIEMSA STAIN FOR RICKETTSIA
LENDRUM’S METHOD FOR INCLUSION BODIES

Blood Stains & Stains for Hematologic Elements:  

WRIGHT STAIN METHOD
GIEMSA THIN FILM STAIN
BRILLIANT CRESYL BLUE FOR COUNTING RETICULOCYTES
RHODINILE BLUE STAIN
MALLORY’S METHOD FOR HEMOFUCHSIN
HALL’S METHOD FOR BILIRUBIN
PRUSSIAN BLUE METHOD FOR HEMOSIDERIN

Bone & Calcium Stains:  

ALIZARIN RED S FOR CALCIUM DEPOSITS
KOSSA’S METHOD FOR CALCIUM
PIZZOLATO'S METHOD FOR CALCIUM OXALATE

Bone Marrow Stains:  

MAY-GRUNWALD/GEIMSA COMBINED STAIN FOR BONE MARROW  

Carbohydrate & Mucosubstance Stains:  


BENHOLD’S METHOD FOR AMYLOID
CRYSTAL VIOLET STAIN FOR AMYLOID
McMANUS PAS METHOD FOR GLYCOGEN
MAYER’S MUCICARMINE METHOD
ALCIAN BLUE METHOD (pH 2.5)
ALCIAN BLUE METHOD (pH 1.0)
PAS-ALCIAN BLUE METHOD FOR MUCOSUBSTANCES
SAF-O FOR ARTICULAR CARTILAGE  

DIASTASE DIGESTION
HYALURONIDASE DIGESTION

Connective Tissue Stains:  

PICRO-SIRIUS RED FOR CONNECTIVE TISSUE
MASSON’S TRICHROME FOR CONNECTIVE TISSUE
VERHOFF VAN GIESON’S FOR ELASTIC TISSUE
FRASER-LENDRUM METHOD FOR FIBRIN
MALLORY’S PHOSPHOTUNGSTIC ACID HEMATOXYLIN METHOD (PTAH)
MOVAT’S PENTACHROME METHOD
GOLDNER’S TRICHROME METHOD
GOMORI’S METHOD FOR RETICULUM
JONES’ METHOD FOR KIDNEY

Cytoplasmic Granule Stains:  

PHOSPHOTUNGSTIC ACID HEMATOXYLIN (PTAH)
ALDEHYDE-FUCHSIN METHOD
TOLUIDINE BLUE FOR MAST CELLS
FONTANA – MASSON SILVER METHOD FOR ARGENTAFFIN CELLS

Fat & Lipid Stains:  

SUDAN BLACK B
OIL RED O

Mineral & Pigment Stains:  

GOMORI'S METHOD FOR IRON
RHODANINE METHOD FOR COPPER
MALLORY’S METHOD FOR IRON
HALL’S METHOD FOR BILIRUBIN
PRUSSIAN BLUE METHOD FOR HEMOSIDERIN  

Neurological Tissue Stains:  

CRESYL VIOLET FOR NISSL BODIES
BIELSCHOWSKY’S METHOD FOR NERVE CELLS AND FIBERS

If you don't see the "special" stain you're looking for on this list, it doesn't mean we can't do it. We can purchase any kit to stain your tissue sections.