Nicola Parry's Profile

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A Beginner’s Guide to Haematoxylin and Eosin Staining

Once a tissue specimen has been processed by a histology lab, and transferred onto a glass slide, it needs to be appropriately stained for microscopic evaluation. This is because unstained tissue lacks contrast: all of the fixed materials have a similar refractive index and a similar color. If you viewed an unstained tissue section under […]

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In Microscopy & Imaging 9th of July, 2016
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Go For Gram! Staining Bacteria for Light Microscopy

The Gram stain is another commonly used special stain in the histology lab. Why use a Gram stain? The Gram stain is a type of differential staining technique which represents an important initial step in the characterization and classification of bacteria using a light microscope. It is named after a Danish scientist, Hans Christian Gram, […]

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In Microscopy & Imaging 9th of July, 2016
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Verhoeff-van Gieson Stain: A Special Histology Stain for Elastic Fibers

What is Verhoeff-van Gieson’s stain? Ira Van Gieson first described the Verhoeff-van Gieson (VVG) staining protocol in 1889 as a method of evaluating collagen fibers in neural tissue. Frederick Herman Verhoeff, an American surgeon and pathologist, then modified the stain in 1908, as a method to differentiate collagen and other connective tissues, and highlight elastic […]

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In Microscopy & Imaging 15th of April, 2014
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Toluidine Blue – A Histology Stain for Mast Cells (and Other Things!)

What is Toluidine Blue? Toluidine blue (TB) is a polychromatic dye which can absorb different colours depending on how it binds chemically with various tissue components. It first emerged in 1856, courtesy of a British chemist called William Henry Perkin. Although he was working on the synthesis of quinine, Perkin instead produced a blue substance […]

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In Microscopy & Imaging 28th of January, 2014
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Special Stains for Histology: An Introduction and Basic Overview

Routine tissue staining Haematoxylin and eosin (or H&E- see our H&E 101 articles here and here) is the most commonly used stain in histology labs, representing the ‘bread and butter’ stain for most pathologists who diagnose disease, and for researchers who work with many tissue types. It highlights the detail in tissues and cells, using a […]

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In Microscopy & Imaging 14th of January, 2014
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Don’t See Red! Use Oil Red O- A Histological Stain For Fats And Lipids.

What Does Oil Red O Stain? Oil Red O (‘ORO’) is used to demonstrate the presence of fat or lipids in fresh, frozen tissue sections. Introduced by French in 1926, ORO is a fat-soluble diazo dye, and is classified as one of the Sudan dyes which have been in use since the late 1800s. Like […]

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In Microscopy & Imaging 21st of May, 2013
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Prussian Blue- A Histology Stain For Iron

What is Prussian Blue? Prussian blue (PB) was actually the first synthetic color to be discovered during the Industrial Revolution. It was developed accidentally in 1704 by a chemist who was trying to produce another color. It wasn’t used as a histochemical stain until 1867 when its original formula was described by German pathologist, Max […]

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In Microscopy & Imaging 7th of May, 2013
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Congo Red – A Special Stain For Alzheimer’s Disease

What is Congo red? Did you know that Congo red (CR) originally started out as a textile dye? It belongs to the azo class of dyes- synthetic compounds that are among the most popular dyes used in the clothing and fashion industry. CR is a benzidine derivative which can react with structural polysaccharides- including the […]

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In Microscopy & Imaging 26th of March, 2013
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Acid Fast: A Histology Tool To Detect Bacteria and TB

What Does Acid-Fast Stain? Acid-Fast (AF) is an important special staining technique used in the histology lab. This is adifferential stain used to identify acid-fast bacterial organisms, such as members of the genus Mycobacterium and Nocardia. The discovery of TB German scientist and physician, Robert Koch, was a Nobel Laureate in Medicine and a founder […]

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In Microscopy & Imaging 5th of March, 2013
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How To Find Fungi In Your Histology Samples- Go For GMS!

Gomori’s methenamine silver (GMS) is another commonly used special stain in the histology lab. What Does GMS Stain? (1) Fungi GMS is probably best known for staining fungal organisms. Fungi are generally relatively large and morphologically diverse, and can occur in tissues in various forms: hyphae, endosporulating spores, budding yeasts, or a combination of these […]

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In Microscopy & Imaging 19th of February, 2013