[Histonet] Cresyl echt violet

susanbachus <@t> verizon.net susanbachus <@t> verizon.net
Sat May 4 08:37:07 CDT 2013

It's important to bear in mind that cresyl violet acetate is not exactly the 
same formulation as cresyl violet (the pH is different), so it can't be 
simply substituted in an old protocol in place of cresyl violet--so make 
sure you work from a protocol specific for cresyl violet acetate.   But yes, 
the results should then be pretty much the same.   Here is some fascinating 
history that I received years ago from Richard W. Dapson at Anatech Ltd. 
when he kindly donated some old stains to our lab:

"Your request is not at all inappropriate! However, you sure picked a  tough 
one. The chemical identity of cresyl violets sold between 1918 and the late 
1900's is a mystery. The dye was originally manufactured in Germany for 
biological use; it was never a textile dye, so supplies were always very 
limited. The name was cresyl echt violet (echt meaning fast in German). 
Because of the two World Wars during which dye shipments from Germany were 
banned, other material appeared on the market under various labels: cresyl 
echt violet, cresyl fast violet, and cresyl violet, often with letter 
suffixes like V or R. Most were not identical to the original German 

In 1952, cresyl violet acetate was synthesized in the US to replace all of 
these other dyes. Unlike the chloride salts which were poorly soluble in 
anything, the acetate is water soluble and easier to use. Studies have shown 
it to be a satisfactory replacement for the original dye, at least for 
staining Nissl substance.

The problem is what dye is really inside any given bottle, especially those 
packaged before about 1980. If you want true cresyl violet acetate, buy it 
from Aldrich. That is the real stuff as labeled, but it is not cresyl echt 

-----Original Message----- 
From: Cheryl Crowder
Sent: Saturday, May 04, 2013 9:07 AM
To: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Subject: [Histonet] Cresyl echt violet

Some years ago the name of cresyl echt violet was changed to cresyl violet
acetate (no CI #).  It is what is now used in staining for Nissl substance.

Cheryl Crowder
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