[Histonet] to clear things up... (was: Cresyl violet vs. cresyl violet acetate)

sebres sebres <@t> comcast.net
Mon Sep 27 22:46:37 CDT 2004

Sounds like it's time for me to  jump in & smooth any ruffled feathers!  I'm
the infamous teacher who posed the "mystery bottle" question.  Our class was
the grateful recipient of a generous donation of old cresyl violet stain of
uncertain identity from Anatech last year.  I thought it might liven up the
task of learning how to follow recipes to make up stains to work through the
challenge together of solving this "mystery", which, as Jennifer says, we
determined by pH'g the solution & comparing to known cresyl violet acetate.
On the one hand, I am trying to encourage my students to participate in
Histonet, and am pleased that at least one student has tuned in.  On the
other, I must (& will) convey more clearly the need to exhaust available
information (e.g. comparing the 2 protocols) before resorting to Histonet!
Jennifer, to clarify a bit, many on Histonet are educators as well as
histologists, & I sense that they felt some conflict between desire to aid a
novice & concern that this could compromise what they astutely recognized as
a classroom exercise (as Jennifer said, this was an informal challenge, not
a graded exercise), no offense to your industriousness intended.  (She
really is a very dedicated student!)  I was very touched that several of you
took great pains to help, and in addition, to thoughtfully consider the
ulterior motive (i.e. mine) behind the question.  Anyway, please accept my
thanks in addition to Jennifer's, and I would humbly hope that the
consolation prize for the commotion we inadvertantly stirred up might
include these useful tidbits:
1) in case anyone else out there runs into a similar dilemma, pH is indeed a
simple solution
2) some thought provoking various opinions on the question of what questions
it is fair to post to Histonet & what alternative sources of information
should be consulted first
3) a reminder to me to emphasize to my students the netiquette of sticking
with the original subject line on a listserve
4) it has been a fun exercise to make learning how to make stains more
interesting, that perhaps other instructors could utilize
5) finally, I hope Peggy Wenk will forgive me for quoting some fascinating
history that she sent me when I confessed that I still wasn't clear myself
on how cresyl FAST violet compares to the other variants:

"I respond with a little bit more info -
Cresyl echt violet (echt = fast, as in dye-fast, so the English translation
is cresyl fast violet) was made only in Germany. No one else had the
"recipe". Germany had a monopoly on most dyes in the early 1900's. After WW
I or WW II, I don't remember), Germany no longer had the ability to make
this dye (chemical plants were destroyed). And no one knew the formulation
for CEV.
A substitute was eventually made that was almost, but not quite, CEV. This
was/is cresyl violet acetate. However, most companies continued to call it
CEV. It's only recently that I'm seeing more companies calling it CVA. Which
is confusing everyone one, since the books and procedures are still calling
for CEV.

Finally, I have to commend all of you folks on Histonet for contributing to
such a generous, collegial and valuable resource!   I sincerely hope we
haven't abused the privilege of taking part in this community, or offended
anyone!   with my deep gratitude,   Susan Bachus, George Mason University

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jennifer Brielmaier" <jbrielma <@t> yahoo.com>
To: <histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu>
Sent: Monday, September 27, 2004 8:35 PM
Subject: [Histonet] to clear things up...

> To everyone who has been debating over my earlier post,
> I would like to clear things up here. The question of the "mystery bottle"
was a question asked by our teacher on an informal basis as something for us
to think about until we could discuss it in the next week's class. It was
NOT a graded assignment nor did it pertain to some kind of activity that I
was supposed to perform on my own. I looked for the information in my
textbook and did not find anything. I looked up a some information elsewhere
on the Internet and was unable to find an answer. Our instructor has
encouraged us to use the Histonet listserv as a resource. In fact, she
frequently reads the postings and when she saw my post, she replied to me
saying she was pleased I'd used Histonet.
> In the class meeting following the one where the question had been asked,
we figured out the contents of the mystery bottle as a class, which is what
we had planned to do all along. Ironically, the simple test she was thinking
of to use was checking the pH, which is what I'd had in mind all along!
Again, this was a simple, informal question asked of us, so I saw no problem
with posting it to Histonet and neither did my instructor.
> Thanks to everyone who gave me helpful answers. I am a hard worker and I
certainly know how to use a library. I feel a bit insulted by those who have
implied otherwise...
> Jennifer
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