Re: Recipe of Sternheimer stain
Claudio Ghimenton at the Azienda Ospedaliera Istituti Ospitalieri di Verona
(in Italy) asks:
>>I am searching for the recipe of supravital Sternheimer-Malbin stain. I
have seen some pictures of urothelial cells, and they look great!<<
Geezer time! Boy, does this query take me back!
I learned about this technique for demonstrating "glitter cells" in acute
upper urinary tract infection (acute pyelonephritis) when I was a sophomore
medical student (at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri) in 1961. I
have never seen it in use again, but it was terribly fashionable a long time
Urine must be absolutely fresh. "Glitter cells" are neutrophils, swollen in a
hypotonic urine, whose neutrophilic granules demonstrate rapid brownian
movement against motionless nuclei.
I don't have a copy of the original article, but the formula as quoted in
Todd-Sanford (18th ed., 1991) calls for
crystal violet 3 g
ammonium oxalate 0.8 g
95% ethanol 20 mL
distilled water 80 mL
safranin O 1 g
95% ethanol 40 mL
distilled water 400 mL
Mix, then filter, 3 parts of solution 1 and 97 parts of solution 2. The
mixture keeps for three months, filtering every two weeks (the stock
solutions keep indefinitely).
To use, add one or two drops of stain to 1 mL of urine sediment suspension,
and examine under the microscope, preferably with an oil immersion lens.
Commercial preparations of the stain have been available in the past.
Sternheimer R and Malbin B. Clinical recognition of pyelonephritis with a new
stain for urinary sediments. American Journal of Medicine 1951:11;312.
Sternheimer R. A supravital cytodiagnostic stain for urinary sediments. JAMA
Samurai Pathologist (and occasional uromancer)
Knoxville, Tennessee USA
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