Re: Alcian Blue 8GX

From:John Kiernan <> of Sigma-Aldrich wrote:

>I have the following questions ...
>Is this stain critical to health care ...
>Would this higher price force you to develop alternatives ...

There are alternative methods of carbohydrate histochemistry,
but they are generally less easy than alcian blue to use and
to combine with other stains. Methods for sulphated carbohydrates
(equivalent to alcian blue at pH 1) are generally simpler, alone
or in combination with PAS etc, than methods that also detect
carboxylated carbohydrates such as sialic acids (shown by alcian
blue at pH 2.5 together with sulphated carbohydrates).

Could some of the pathologist histonetters let us know whether they
depend on using alcian blue at pH 1 and pH 2.5 or if they are
interested principally in sialylated or sulphated mucus, or both?

Do many pathologist use the Culling-Reid PAS variants for detecting
different types of sialic acids in intestinal mucous cells?

Pathologists are not the only people who use dyes. There are
plenty of published methods using alcian blue for staining
plants, microorganisms etc.

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

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