Re: blood capillary stains

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From:"J. A. Kiernan" <>
To:Atoska Gentry <>
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On Wed, 28 Jun 2000, Atoska Gentry wrote:

> Anyone doing IHC and/or special stains other than Verhoeff's elastic fiber 
> stain for blood vessels?  I'm interested in methods that have been tried 
> and tested and yielded successful results.  Thanks, Atoska

  An elastic stain shows the walls of arteries, but not
  capillaries or veins. Usually its easy to identify arteries
  and veins with any general staining method. Capillaries
  are not quite so easy to see in thin paraffin sections,
  especially where there's a lot of connective tissue. 

  If you want to see _all_ the blood vessels in a tissue,
  one way is to cut quite thick sections and stain them
  with a somewhat alkaline solution of an acid dye.
  Acid fuchsine at about pH 8 is OK. This stains the
  haemoglobin in all the red blood cells, and very little
  else. (The fixative affects the ideal staining pH. Adjust
  it so that RBC are stained but collagen is not.) After
  staining, wash in slightly acidified water (such as
  0.05-0.1% acetic acid), which won't remove any bound
  dye, dehydrate in 3 changes of 100% ethanol (allow
  enough time for it to work on thick sections), clear
  in 2 changes of xylene and mount.

  The results can be very pleasing. Needless to say, this 
  method isn't for animals that have been fixed by vascular 

 John A. Kiernan,
 Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology,
 The University of Western Ontario,
 LONDON,  Canada  N6A 5C1
   Phone: (519) 661-2111
   FAX (Department): (519) 661-3936

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