[Histonet] Stains for Lipids

Geoff McAuliffe mcauliff <@t> umdnj.edu
Wed Jan 24 09:19:28 CST 2007

Hi Tamara:

    The alcohols used to dehydrate tissue for paraffin embedding 
dissolve out the lipids. Then the clearing agent (xylene) removes any 
lipids that might have survived the graded alcohols. Once you get to wax 
there are (almost) no lipids left to stain. You can treat fixed tissue 
with osmium (dangerous fumes!) to stain the lipids black, then dehydrate 
and embed but the tissue will be very brittle and hard to cut. Treating 
fixed tissue with potassium dichromate will retain some lipids but if 
you really what to know what is there, frozen sections are the only way 
to go.
    Frozen sections of fixed (but not dehydrated) material will work. I 
suggest you get a hold of "Lipid Histochemistry" by Olga Bayliss High. 
It is #6 in the  Microscopy Handbooks series which was published by the 
Royal Microscopical Society. If you can't find it in the library try a 
used book dealer.


Tamara Melville wrote:

>  I would like to stain sections of rat aorta and heart for lipids. I am aware that frozen sections are required however in some paraffin sections stained with H&E I saw some structures resembling fat droplets and would like confirmation by using a stain for lipids. I would like to know if there are any methods to stain lipids in paraffin sections.
>  I would also like to know if tissues fixed and preserved in formal saline can be stained with any of the special lipid stains or are these stains specifically for frozen tissues.
>  Thanks in advance for any assistance.
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Geoff McAuliffe, Ph.D.
Neuroscience and Cell Biology
Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
675 Hoes Lane, Piscataway, NJ 08854
voice: (732)-235-4583; fax: -4029 
mcauliff <@t> umdnj.edu

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