From:Gayle Callis <>

Gayle Callis mentions "For articular cartilage in osteoarthritic knees, 
safranin O/Fast Green is commonly used, and toludine blue may also be 
useful."   I think I should have qualified as "more commonly used in
orthopedic pathology clinical situations ".  I have seen them used in both
clinical and research, clinical generally being larger institutions, often
with orthopedic pathologists in attendance. I doubt these stains are
routinely used in the majority of clinical labs.  Neither stain is
difficult to do, intrepretation must be something that has to be learned.    

Would be interested to see how many people in clinical lab use these
stains??? And is your clinical lab small or a teaching hospital, large,

Although the majority of large bone speciemens I dealt with in my clinical
experience were handled much as you described, hand saws, etc., Faxitrons
wasn't available and still are few and far between, although extremely
useful. In one lab, Femoral heads were never processed, merely grossly
described, including fractured ones with potential for metastatic cancer.
Another lab processed a piece of bone from every bone specimen received, so
policy on what was done with bone (femoral heads, knee replacement
fragments)etc was set by that particular hospital (often as discretion of
pathologist) or state regulation for permanent record of every specimen
received (extracted teeth and non tissue samples the exceptions). 

One county clinical lab I worked in did very few special stains (on
anything!) and if there was a question, block, slides, etc were immediately
sent to AFIP for consultation. Having visited AFIP, I know their battery of
special stains for bone and cartilage was staggering but that is highly
specialized bone lab.       

I was much later I learned about fractured femoral heads/metastatic Ca
potential.  That was a scary thought that this could be missed by never
sampling a fracture site, hoping it would never happen to me or mine. I
applaud the pathologist who never ignores this sample.  


Gayle Callis
Veterinary Molecular Biology
Montana State University
Bozeman MT 59717-3610
406 994-4705
406 994-4303

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