Special Stains

Several special stains are performed by this laboratory. Please contact the lab if stains other than those listed here are required. Consultation is available on selection of appropriate staining protocols for research projects.

  • H&E: Routine stain for cellular detail, best on paraffin sections
  • Toluidine Blue O: Stain utilized for optimal demonstration of mineralized   bone and osteoid seams, osteoblasts, osteoclasts.
  • Alkaline Phosphatase: Enzyme histochemical stain for osteoblasts. This stain is diminished in formalin fixed tissues. 
  • Tartrate Resistant Acid Phosphatase (TRAP): Enzyme histochemical stain specific for osteoclasts.
  • Von Kossa: Stain best for demonstration of mineralization in bone and other tissues. Also used to demonstrate areas of mineralization in cell cultures.
  • Safranin O: Stain which demonstrates presence of proteoglycans.
  • Gomori’s trichrome:  Stain used to visualize collagen in tissues
  • EVG (Elastin/Van Gieson: Demonstrates presence of elastic fibers in tissues
  • Prussian Blue: Demonstrates presence of iron in tissues
  • Goldners Trichrome: Stain utilized for differentiation of mineralized and non-mineralized areas in bone.
  • Lee’s Methylene Blue: H&E “lookalike” stain used for GMA sections.
  • Oil Red O (frozen sections only): Demonstrates lipids in tissues.
  • Alcian Blue: Stains acid mucins in tissues.
  • Alizarin red/Alcian blue staining of whole tissues: Stain for differentiation of mineralized vs. unmineralized bone in whole tissues
  • In vivo fluorescent bone labeling: Calcein, xylenol orange and alizarin red labeling in vivo for bone mineralization front.
  • Calcein: In vivo labeling of bone mineralization fronts suitable for all species. Preparation of Calcein for injection is available upon request.
  • Oil Red O: Stain which demonstrates the present of fat in tissues. Suitable only for tissues that have been sectioned frozen and not processed through any solvents.