[Histonet] Phosphotungstic Acid Hematoxylin stain without using Zenker's


Omnipotente Ptah! - sings Aida in Verdi's famous opera.

I think the PTAH stain has declined a lot since then. I haven't seen one 
since I was a resident around 1970. I think it's been replaced by various 
immunohistochemical stains.

A good batch of PTAH had to age like a fine wine - mine improved with age - I 
might still have it, but I think it got lost in a move.

Certainly I never had any luck with PTAH unless the tissue had been first 
fixed in Zenker's (Helly's) fixative, with both mercury and chromium as well as 
formaldehyde. Them days is gone forever! 

But it sure was a great stain for reactive or neoplastic astrocytes - at its 
best, almost as good as the Cajal gold technique - now my age is really 

The old joke was that, since the stain took overnight to do, that the PTAH 
stain gave the pathologist time to think about the diagnosis for an unusual 

Bob Richmond
Knoxville TN and Gastonia NC
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