[Histonet] cresyl violet staining

Karen Weidenheim kweidenh <@t> montefiore.org
Fri Jan 27 08:08:07 CST 2006

Mohana, the cresyl violet dye has a great affinity for the Nissl
substance (rough endoplasmic reticulum) in the neurons, so therefore it
is used to highlight the neurons.  However, other cell types (the
various glia) also have some endoplasmic reticulum and they will stain
at least somewhat.
The reason for using thicker sections for the stain is so the laminar
pattern of the neurons in aggregate can be seen, and any abnormalities
found.  So the low power view is important.
So then the pathologist has to interpret the stain with some
intelligence because of this, and may require additional staining to
help them, depending on whether the case is a tumor or an epilepsy or
something else.  Researchers often have to be reminded that the stained
cells are not exclusively neurons and that they need to interpret
The immunostains for neurons including NeuN and neurofilament can
supplement the Nissl (cresyl violet) method and glial staining i.e. GFAP
may also help.
Hope this helps.

Karen M. Weidenheim, M.D.
Professor of Pathology, Clinical Neurology and Clinical Neurosurgery
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Chief, Division of Neuropathology
Montefiore Medical Center
111 East 210th Street
Bronx, NY   10467 
(718) 920-4446
FAX (718) 653-3409
Beeper (917) 556 3696
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>>> MOHANA <mohana_g2002 <@t> yahoo.com> 01/27/06 8:25 AM >>>
i was wondering if any one can explain me that why does the cresyl
violet stains only neurons and not glia????


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