Re: Alcian Blue -Reply

From:Tony Henwood <>


I agree. I have used this dye for low pH Alcian Blue staining (eg mast
cells) and found it superior to other alcian blue dyes (Henwood, 1994
"An improved Alcian Blue Dye for the demonstration of Mast Cells"
Tissue Talk (May) p3).

I have a querie though. I am not sure how the dye is produced. Is it a
reaction done on prepared alcian blue dye or is a new production
process? If it is post-production processing of the alcian blue dye,
where is the alcian blue coming from? Unfortunately I do not have a copy
of Charles's paper.

Regards, Tony

Tony Henwood JP, BappSc, GradDipSysAnalys, CT(ASC)
Laboratory Manager
The Children's Hospital Westmead,
Locked Bag 4001, Westmead, 2145, AUSTRALIA
Tel: (02) 9845 3306
Fax: (02) 9845 3318
>>> <> 14/February/2001 09:48pm >>>
Sharyn asks:

> Does anyone have a source for alcian blue dye?  All
> our vendors seem to be out and are not forcasting any
> date of re-stocking.     

HISTORICAL ASIDE - This 'alcian blue drought' has been a recuring
for more than 20 years. A shortage - - and then more dye appears.
Where does 
it come from? Dunno. 


Yes! PRACTICAL SUGGESTION - Charles Churukian, well known to many
of you I am 
sure, did some work using a commercially available AB alternative
years ago. Recently he extended this, see below. And as you see I am
not a 
neutral party:

Alcian blue pyridine variant - A superior alternative to alcian blue 8GX: 
staining performance and stability.
Churukian CJ, Frank M & Horobin RW. 2000. Biotechnic & Histochemistry.

COMMENT 1 - Its 'superior' because it stains exactly as does AB but the 
powder and the solutions are more stable
COMMENT 2 - If youre after reprints try Matt Frank, I havent any. He is at 
the Biological Stain Commision Lab in Rochester. His email address is:

Bye - Richard Horobin

Institute of Biomedical & Life Sciences, University of Glasgow
T direct 01796-474 480 --- E
"What should we expect? Everything."

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