[Histonet] Mast cell staining HELP!

John Kiernan jkiernan <@t> uwo.ca
Thu Sep 3 10:49:08 CDT 2009

Mast cells are not conspicuous items in sections of kidneys. 
In rats and mice mast cell  granules are preserved by ordinary formaldehyde fixatives and also by non-aqueous liquids such as Carnoy and "alcoholic Bouin". The granules contain heparin, which can be stained by any cationic dye at low pH. Alcian blue at pH 1.0 does this well. Blue cationic dyes with smaller molecules (thionine, azures, toluidine blue etc) stain heparin metachromatically (red), which is often more conspicuous than the turquoise colour of alcian blue. Technical details can be found in any histological techniques book published since the introduction of alcian blue (1950). Older books have instructions for metachromatic staining of mast cells, which was described in1878: Ehrlich P. Contributions to the Theory and Practice of Histological Staining. (Translated from "Beiträge zür Theorie und Praxis der histologischen Färbung." University of Leipzig, 1878 (Thesis). In The Collected Papers of Paul Ehrlich, ed. F. Himmelweit & M. Marquandt. Vol 1, pp. 65-98. London & New York: Pergamon Press (1956). 
John Kiernan
Anatomy, UWO
London, Canada
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----- Original Message -----
From: Kim O'Sullivan <Kim.Osullivan <@t> med.monash.edu.au>
Date: Tuesday, September 1, 2009 23:02
Subject: [Histonet] Mast cell staining HELP!
To: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu

> Hi,
> Can anyone out there recommend the best way to stain mouse mast 
> cells in the kidney(toluidine blue/or berberine sulfate) with a 
> protocol that produces cconsistent results?
> Secondly, I have mouse kidney sections fixed in FFPE, PLP and 
> methyl Carnoys. Does anyone know of a company that supplies 
> antibodies  which will work on any of these fixatives,for 
> the staining of the IgE receptor, mast cell trytptase and chymase.
> Any advice would be appreciated!
> Kim O'Sullivan
> Monash University
> Melbourne
> Australia
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