[Histonet] Re: Celestin blue B (was Help)

Lee & Peggy Wenk lpwenk <@t> sbcglobal.net
Sun Nov 6 16:36:21 CST 2011

With the hematoxylin shortage of a couple of years ago (real, not imagined 
in about 2007-2008), several companies tried to come up with a synthetic dye 

A little background: Celestine blue (CI 51050, also known as Mordant blue 
14) is a substitute touted many years ago (late 1960s/early 1970s if I 
remember, when there was another shortage for different reasons). I've used 
it years ago, in a stain called MSB for fibrin (look in a Bancroft book). 
The MSB stain used a double nuclear stain of aluminum hematoxylin (e.g. 
Mayer or Harris) and celestine blue. We didn't like the celestine blue, 
because when we mixed the iron mordant salt with the celestine blue dye, it 
worked right away, but, the next time someone asked for a MSB stain (several 
months later), the celestine blue was overoxidized, and wouldn't work. So we 
would have to stop and make the dye up immediately. It was a nuisance. But 
the double nuclear stain to to try to keep the nuclei a blue color, after 
going through the next 3 dyes (MSB is sort of a quatrachrome). Eventually, 
we just started using the Weigert hematoxylin from the trichrome stain in 
place of the double nuclear stain in the MSB. Our pathologists like the MSB 
stain better with the Weigert hematoxylin.

Current use: Since 2008, three companies that I know of came up with 
hematoxylin substitutes, in response to that shortage.
- Anatech Ltd, which used Mordant blue 3, CI 43820, and called it Tango 
Blue. So this is NOT celestine blue.
- Newcomer Supply, which calls their substitute Newly Blue, but says it is a 
Celestine blue in one solution, ferric ammonium sulfate in the other 
solution. I don't know if you mix the two solutions before use, or if you 
dip the slides in first one solution and then the other. I didn't get around 
to their booth this year at NSH (sorry Marcia), and have never seen a 
procedure sheet on this stain.
- ThermoFisher/Richard Allan, which calls their substitute Phoenix blue.The 
problem is, they are being secretive (proprietary) about what dye/reagents 
are in their solutions. I looked at one time, and couldn't find MSDS on 
their websites And their flyer doesn't mention the dyes name or CI #. 
However, the photo on the flyer, at least to me, looks like celestine blue. 
That's not proof that it IS celestine blue. Could be a close look-alike 

So look to these companies for more information. Anatech has a newsletter, 
available on their website, about the hematoxylin shortage (and their Tango 
blue product, of course).  (Not that this will help you with your Celestine 
blue project, but it will fill you in on the hematoxylin shortage history.)

Hope that helps some.

Peggy A. Wenk, HTL(ASCP)SLS
Schools of Histotechnology
Beaumont Hospital
Royal Oak, MI 48073

(Opinions expressed are my own, and not Beaumont Hospitals'.)

-----Original Message----- 
From: Bob Richmond
Sent: Sunday, November 06, 2011 3:42 PM
To: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Subject: [Histonet] Re: Celestin blue B (was Help)

Corrie Vernick writes:

>>I am currently a histology student at Keiser University. I am doing a 
>>project for my routine staining class about Celestine Blue. I've been able 
>>to find information on why it was created, the chemical make up, and some 
>>of it's uses including the trichrome stain. I am having trouble finding 
>>images of slides stained with Celestine Blue. Any additional information 
>>about the uses would be helpful as well! Thank you, Corrinne Vernick, 
>>Keiser University FL U.S.A.<<

I don't have access to my library this week, but you can get a good
bit information by Googling celestin blue B. This dye was often used
as a sort of backup or substitute for hematoxylin, particularly in the
old outmoded Pearse stain for pituitary cells. R.D. Lillie as I
remember didn't think much of the dye, and I don't think this dye is a
very good topic for a study such as the one you describe.

Bob Richmond
Samurai Pathologist
Knoxville TN

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