Re: supravital staining

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From:Paul Millikin <> (by way of histonet)
To:histonet <>
Content-Type:text/plain; charset="us-ascii" wrote:
> Paul Millikin in Peoria IL notes:
> >>Supravital staining means putting a small drop of blood on a stained slide
> and adding a coverslip, then waiting for a few minutes for the living white
> cells to take up the stain. ... I use slides dipped in 0.25-0.5% toluidine
> blue (in absolute ethanol) and then dried on end at 60 degrees C.<<
> In the early 1960's when I was a medical student at Washington University in
> St. Louis (now the home of the Coenorhabditis elegans genome!) the
> hematologists, under the direction of the formidable Virginia Minnich, used a
> supravital stain for peripheral blood, using neutral red and malachite green
> and apochromatic lenses and a fair amount of mystery and mumbo-jumbo. Their
> differential counts always differed from the Wright-Giemsa results, and of
> course (by definition) were always right. I've never heard of this technique
> again, and I have no idea of its details.
> Bob Richmond
> Samurai Pathologist
> Knoxville TN

Dear Bob,

I, too, was exposed to your neutral red/malachite green supravital stain
l-o-o-o-o-n-g ago, but in Michigan, during my residency.  So long ago, in
fact, that I couldn't remember the malachite green, nor do I have ANY
idea what the stains looked like or what they were used for.

I DO believe that the difference in differential counts between
supravital and air-dried smears is probably a matter of distribution,  In
neither case are the wbc uniformly distributed.


Paul Millikin
Peoria, IL

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