[Histonet] Re: Eosin staining for small biopsies

Bob Richmond rsrichmond <@t> gmail.com
Wed Jun 20 12:40:29 CDT 2012

Carol Freeman asks about using eosin and other dyes to mark small
specimens for better recovery during embedding.

I've found safranin O to be the best of these. Use the Gram stain
counterstain used in microbiology. You mark the specimens directly, on
those blue biopsy pads. It doesn't dissolve out, and supposedly it
isn't fluorescent and doesn't interfere with fluorescence procedures
such as FISH. - The disadvantage is that marking the specimens with it
is time-consuming. I'd want it used in conjunction with a grossing log
sheet that the embedder checks while embedding (dream on).

Eosin is easy to put in the processor, but its fluorescence supposedly
precludes its use, a serious drawback.

Hematoxylin - I have no experience with it. It isn't fluorescent, but
in some situations can quench fluorescence.

Mrs. Stewart's Bluing - No experience with it. It's made by the same
company that makes Davidson marking inks. I don't know if it's

Davidson's marking inks: They do the job, but as a pathologist I find
particulate material distracting when it's on the slide with a small
biopsy specimen, so I'd rather they not be used, though obviously
they're necessary for evaluating surgical margins on breast and skin
cancer resection specimens.

Only a minority of pathology labs do small specimen marking of any
kind, but I think it's a good idea.

I don't know of any refereed literature on this subject - don't know
if it's covered in any of the standard books - I'm away from my
library right now.

Bob Richmond
Samurai Pathologist
Knoxville TN

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