RE: brazilin 2nd opinion

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From:"Komuves, Laszlo" <>
To:"'J. A. Kiernan'" <>, "Smith, Allen" <>
Content-Type:text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1

I do not think that Dr. Kiernan remembers our correspondence about brasilin
about five years ago, but it might be useful to recall it for people who are
trying to use brasilin.
I decided to try it for counterstaining ISH developed by BCIP/NBT substrates
(blue precipitate) since I found that Nuclear Fast Red did not give me a
strong nuclear counterstain.
I read about brasilin in Dr. Kiernan's book. I have the new edition.
Everybody doing histological stains should have this book. However,
witnessing the messages posted on Histonet, it seems that very few people
have time to actually read a texbook. (But that is a whole other story.)
I purchased brasilin from ICN, made the stain and it did not work. Contacted
Dr. Kiernan, who helped me to troubleshoot. Eventually I determined that the
lot I received did not have any active dye in it (due either to mislabel or
ageing/oxidation/improper storage, etc.)
I gave up on nuclear counterstaining since then and now I am using DIC
imaging to visualize tissue morphology.
I do not recommend wasting any money on brasilin until a company or the
Stain commision certifies a lot.
László G. Kömüves, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist, Histology
COR Therapeutics, Inc.
256 East Grand Avenue
South San Francisco CA 94080

Phone: (650) 244-6855,  Fax: (650) 244-9270

-----Original Message-----
From: J. A. Kiernan []
Sent: Monday, August 28, 2000 7:52 AM
To: Smith, Allen
Cc: Histonet
Subject: Re: brazilin

On Sun, 27 Aug 2000, Smith, Allen wrote:

> I used to use brazilin, but I have been unable to find it lately.  Where
> I buy it?

   Dear Allen,  Your question may be of wider interest, so I'm
   forwarding the answer to HistoNet, in the hope that someone
   knows a less expensive supplier. I could find Brazilin in only
   two catalogues. Details below.

   I like alum-brazilin as a red nuclear stain, but the dyestuff
   has become ridiculously expensive in the last 10 years or so.
   I've still got a bit left over from the 1970s when its price
   wasn't in any way remarkable.
   Brazilin. CI 74280  Natural red 24
   ICN Biomedicals Inc. Cat # 154862  US$58 for 1 gm.
   VWR Canlab Rare & Fine Chemicals. Cat # 205613  US$1776.50 for 10 gm.
     (VWR say they can supply smaller amounts!)
   The 2nd of these catalogues is more recent (2000). It seems
   to be an ICN catalog in a VWR wrapper.

   Brazilwood chips can be bought for back-to-nature home dyeing.
   Brazilin is obtained by evaporating an alcoholic extract, in
   just the same way that haematoxylin is made from logwood.
   Sounds easy if you have the time; I've never tried it myself. 
   Some years ago a Histonetter in Australia reported having
   made some workable haematoxylin out of home-grown logwood,
   and there was other correspondence about this and brazilin
   around the same time. It should be in the Archives.

 John A. Kiernan,
 Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology,
 The University of Western Ontario,
 LONDON,  Canada  N6A 5C1

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