Re: Skin innervation stain

From:"J. A. Kiernan" <>

On Tue, 19 Jun 2001 wrote:
> Does anyone know of a stain for mouse skin neural processes?  

Several people have written books about staining the
innervation of skin, and there's also plenty of modern
literature in journals. Progress has added more methods,
especially immunohistochemical ones for specific types
of innervating sensory or autonomic axons.

If it's still reasonable to look for innervation in a
general sort of way, Winkelmann's silver method applied
to thick (50-150 um) frozen sections of formaldehyde-fixed 
skin may be the best. It's _very_ much easier to do than the 
ammoniacal silver methods and nearly as good. (The latter can 
sometimes display breathtaking pictures that have just got to 
be indicative of the true complexity of peripheral innervation.)

R.K.Winkelmann's book, "Nerve Endings in Normal and Pathologic
Skin,"  Springfield, IL: C.C Thomas (1960) contains detailed
technical instructions and plenty of black & white photos
of what you can hope to see. If you have to work with thinner
sections you'll miss a lot. For mounted paraffin sections
your best bet would be Holmes's silver method or Bodian's
protargol. If you use the latter, be sure to buy from a 
Certified batch designated "protargol S." 
John A. Kiernan
Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology
The University of Western Ontario
London,  Canada   N6A 5C1

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