alcian blue vs astra blue

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From:Gayle Callis <>
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Have used both alcian blue and astra blue for staining mucosal mast cells
[MMC] using a very acidifed staining solution) with the astra blue superior
for staining the MMC, and Enerbeck has extensive discussions about these
two dyes.  There probabaly are some subtle differences in their chemical
structures even though they are closely related, same classification of

I found it much more difficult to access astra blue (astrablau) than alcian
blue, and I do store the dyes in refrig per recommendation of Dr. Mowry
(after I heard his lecture at an NSH symposium).  He is considered an
expert on the use of theses dyes. 


Gayle Callis
Veterinary Molecular Biology
Montana State University
Bozeman MT 59717-3610
406 994-4705
406 994-4303

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