Re: [Histonet] Identifying staining methods
I like the idea of standardized names of staining methods. And something
like a genealogical tree of stains would give advantages in the jungle of
What method is the origin, and what is the modification?
For a beginner in histological staining the names are often confusing and in
the lab we use often abbreviations, that have nothing in common with the
original name. If you are'nt familiar to the history and the
histo-investigators the names have no meaning.
And a standardized system would help with international comunication. Our
german "BerlinerBlau" or "Gitterfaser" would say nothing to an English
speaker and the other way round.
My thoughts about this issue, from Austria
----- Original Message -----
From: "Bryan Llewellyn"
Sent: Friday, March 12, 2004 12:10 AM
Subject: [Histonet] Identifying staining methods
> Hi all,
> I received the following communication in November last year, and am
> it with permission. My response is below it, after the line of asterisks.
> I have never heard the subject of standard identification of staining
> methods raised before. Could I get you all to read the letter and my
> then comment on either the specifics in the e-mail, or the subject of
> identifying specific staining methods from the jumble of names by which
> go. Would there be any benefit to a naming scheme to identify specific
> staining methods and their variants, or do you think it would be a
> completely unattainable goal, or a pointless exercise, or something else?.
> If you want to know what LOINC is go to :http://www.loinc.org
> Awaiting with bated breath,
> Bryan Llewellyn
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Jeremiah H Sable"
> To: "Bryan D. Llewellyn"
> Sent: Tuesday, November 25, 2003 9:15 AM
> Subject: Questions about stains
> Hi, I've been helping develop a public health information system for the
> Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA. It uses the LOINC coding
> for laboratory test names, and I've found some ambiguous and redundant
> for stain methods. I've done a lot of web searching and found the Stains
> File to be the most organized and helpful site.
> I'm hoping to get a little more "un-confused" before I send my suggestions
> on to the LOINC developers. My questions concern three groups of stains:
> Kinyoun, Gomori, and Silver stains.
> 1. Kinyoun stain: LOINC has a stain method called "Kinyoun stain." It
> has the following methods:
> "Kinyoun hematoxylin stain"
> "Kinyoun iron hematoxylin stain"
> "Kinyoun acid fast stain"
> "Modified Kinyoun acid fast stain"
> My question: Is the term "Kinyoun stain" meaningful without further
> qualification? Or would it be better to delete "Kinyoun stain" from the
> list of LOINC methods?
> 2. Gomori stains: LOINC has a stain method called "Gomori stain". This
> seems ambiguous because "Gomori stain" can mean a Methenamine silver stain
> or a Trichrome stain. I've also seen references to "Gomori reticulin
> stain," and a "Gomori stain for pancreatic island cells." (Also collagen
> and cartillage stains, which might be the same as the Gomori reticulin
> Can you help clarify this? How many types of Gomori stains are there? Are
> there unambiguous names for the methods referred to as Gomori stains?
> 3. Silver stains: LOINC has nine silver stains:
> Silver impregnation stain, Dieterle
> Silver stain
> Silver stain, Grimelius
> Silver stain, Fontana-Masson
> Silver stain, Warthin-Starry
> Methenamine silver nitrate stain
> Methenamine silver stain, Grocott
> Methenamine silver stain, Jones
> Silver nitrate stain
> My impressions about this list are:
> 1. "Methenamine silver nitrate stain" should be renamed "Methenamine
> stain." (I think all Methenemain silver stains have silver nitrate in the
> 2. "Silver nitrate stain" is redundant and actually means "Methenamine
> silver stain."
> Is this correct?
> Is Grocott's Methenamine silver stain a modification of the Gomori Silver
> Methenamine stain (which isn't on the list)? Should "Silver methenamine
> stain, Gomori" be added to the list?
> Also, Is "Silver impregnation stain" just another way of saying "Silver
> stain?" Should the "Silver impregnation stain, Dieterle" be renamed
> stain, Dieterle"?
> These LOINC names for silver stains are very confusing to me and I'd
> appreciate any information that might help.
> Much appreciated,
> Jerry Sable, NEDSS Vocabulary
> You raise an interesting subject. As far as I know there is no standard
> to designate specific staining methods, so it tends to be at the whim of
> person referencing them. Most people use the name of the person who
> published the technique, but not always. Usually the reference includes
> tissue component to be stained, but again, not always. Some are
> colloquially due to their very common use, since nearly all
> histotechnologists would know what method is meant.
> I have never seen this subject raised before, and I would like to refer it
> to a histology discussion group (Histonet), composed of many
> histotechnologists with some pathologists and others. may I have your
> permission to do this with your query and my response below?
> Incidentally, I am not familiar with LOINC. What is it?
> Kinyoun's hematoxylin and Kinyoun's iron hematoxylin could refer to the
> solution, depending on whether Kinyoun ever published a hematoxylin using
> mordant other than iron. If one was published (I don't know) then it
> refer to two different solutions. The second designation (Kinyoun's iron
> hematoxylin) is preferable as an identification.
> Kinyoun's acid fast stain and Modified Kinyoun acid fast stain would
> refer to two slightly different solutions (or procedures, since "stain" is
> sometimes used to refer to the solution and sometimes to the technique in
> which the solution is used), the modified one being slightly changed from
> the original by someone else, nnamed.
> My opinion is that a designation must identify, if it does not, then it is
> useless. The term "Kinyoun's stain", with no further identification to
> in choosing between alternatives, is useless and can cause confusion. I
> would remove it.
> Gomori published several staining methods, many completely unrelated to
> other. The term "Gomori's stain" is useless in identifying any of his
> techniques. To identify the particular method recommended it should be
> followed by some further identification, either the tissue element being
> targeted, or some reference to the underpinnings to the technique, i.e.
> Gomori's silver impregnation for reticulin, Gomori's aldehyde fuchsin for
> pituitary cells and so on. This should make it clear.
> Silver stains are very common. Strictly speaking they are not stains but
> impregnations, although most histotechnologists refer to them as stains, I
> am sure. Still, formal documents should perhaps use the word
> The term "Silver stain" simply means that a source of silver has been used
> in a method, nothing more. When it is followed by a name it refers to a
> specific method. Again, using the name of the published author is very
> common. When the term "methenamine silver" is included it refers to those
> methods which incorporate methenamine into the silver solution.
> Not all silver stains are the same. There are those that use silver
> alone, those that use silver nitrate and ammonia, and those that use
> nitrate and methenamine. Not all silver solutions contain methenamine, so
> your assumption that "methenamine silver nitrate stain" and "methenamine
> silver stain" mean the same thing is correct. Your assumption that
> nitrate stain" means the same as "methenamine silver stain" is not
> Gomori's and Grocott's methenamine silver methods are very similar,
> rather than refer to methenamine silver stains by author's name, perhaps
> should consider listing by target, i.e. "Methenamine silver impregnation
> fungi, basement membranes and carbohydrates". This covers the three
> uses for these techniques by any variant, and they are fairly similar
> Dieterle's method demonstrates microorganisms (spirochetes and others).
> Perhaps "Silver impregnation for microrganisms, Dieterle", or "Silver
> impregnation for spirochetes, Dieterle", would be clearer.
> If you would like some more clarification, please ask.
> Bryan Llewellyn
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