From:"" <>

Date sent:      	Thu, 19 Apr 2001 16:18:56 +0100
From:           	Garry Ashton <>
To:             	"'histonet'" <>

> Dear all, an easy question for some I hope.
> Excluding any immunohistochemical methods, what is the best stain to use to
> identify apoptotic cells on a paraffin or frozen section. 
> Someone has said an H+E is ok if you know what you are looking for, another
> stain mentioned was thionin.

Garry, if you are hoping to assess the degree of apoptosis with 
some accuracy (i.e. quantify) then you will have to use a specific 
procedure for this, and there are many available. Analysis on 
morphological changes is very subjective as cells undergoing 
apoptosis may look perfectly "normal", and then there is the 
differentiation between true apoptosis and necrosis.
Yes, you can get some idea of the presence of apoptosis with 
H&E, mostly in the latter stages, but not conclusively.One staining 
procedure I have tried is a method by Liisberg (1969) a rapid 
trichrome that supposedly stains damaged DNA, but found it too 
difficult to interpret.
Terry Hacker,
Medical Research Council,
Oxfordshire, OX11 ORD
01235 834393 x360

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