Re: differential stain for monocyte cell cultures

From:"J. A. Kiernan" <>

On Tue, 19 Jun 2001, Becky Dilallo wrote:

> Could anyone give me a differential stain for staining 
> monocytes in a cell culture.  I am thinking of a Wright 
> Giemsa but I am not positive how to do it with cell culture
> material.  Thanks in advance.

Wright's or Giemsa's stain will show all cells.
Monocytes in blood stain selectively for naphthyl acetate 
esterase, a lysosomal enzyme in their cytoplasm. (T-cells
have a few tiny +ve granules but being lymphocytes they
have much less cytoplasm than monocytes.) There are
various histochemical methods for the enzyme, usually
providing a red end-product. Nuclei can be counterstained
with heamalum if desired.

Most technical manuals contain instructions. For example:
Elias, J. (1982) Principles and Techniques in Diagnostic 
Histopathology. Park Ridge, NJ: Noyes. Whatever you do, 
don't just follow a list of instructions for an enzyme
histochemical method without first learning how it works.

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

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