[Histonet] Re: Masson trichrome stain

Tony Henwood AnthonyH <@t> chw.edu.au
Tue Dec 30 14:48:58 CST 2008

We have had great success with the simple Van Gieson stain.

It stains the collagen (& fibrosis) really well.


Tony Henwood JP, MSc, BAppSc, GradDipSysAnalys, CT(ASC)
Laboratory Manager & Senior Scientist
Tel: 612 9845 3306
Fax: 612 9845 3318
the children's hospital at westmead 
Cnr Hawkesbury Road and Hainsworth Street, Westmead 
Locked Bag 4001, Westmead NSW 2145, AUSTRALIA 

-----Original Message-----
From: histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
[mailto:histonet-bounces <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu] On Behalf Of Robert
Sent: Wednesday, 31 December 2008 6:18 AM
To: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Subject: [Histonet] Re: Masson trichrome stain

Sarah Reeves (in the UK) asks:

>>Does anyone know how to achieve a perfect Masson trichrome stain? Our 
>>counterstain (light green in acetic acid) works well, but the 
>>intensity of the muscle stain is not very bright. Does anyone have any

>>suggestions? We will be staining liver biopsies mostly in the near 
>>future and wish to improve our technique.<<

If you're going to be staining liver biopsy specimens (by far the most
common use of the trichrome stain by pathologists today, on paraffin
embedded tissue anyhow), your pathologists need a stain with a very
strong blue component (aniline blue or similar), since they're going to
be semi-quantitating small amounts of fibrosis. I've had pretty good
results with commercial trichrome kits, as long as they're not used past
their expiration dates.

You should use liver tissue - it can be normal, though better with a
little fibrosis - as your stain control. Autopsy material is quite

Better talk this over with your pathologists before proceeding. I'll be
happy to e-mail with them if it'll help.

Bob Richmond
Samurai Pathologist
Knoxville TN

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