Re: Vasculature staining

From:Bryan Llewellyn <>

I used to do this in Winnipeg, Oh so long ago.  We were demonstrating the
vasculature behind the eye.  Inject coloured vinyl acetates into the
vessels.  Blue in veins, red in arteries.  Other colours in other systems.
Do NOT use too high a pressure.  Let set.  Digest all the tissue away.  We
then mounted in fibreglass resin, carefully as it softened the acetate.  I
wasn't a very good technique and the plastic often softened and changed
shape.  If it wasn't protected with something it usually broke.

The technique for paraffin sections is most likely gelatin injections using
prussian blue and precipitated carmine for the blue and red respectively.
Flush the blood vessels of fresh tissue with saline to remove blood.  Inject
veins with prussian blue-gelatin and the arteries with carmine-gelatine.
Use quite low pressure with gravity feed or VERY carefully with a syringe
and a cannula.  Fix, process and section.  I suspect that coloured tattoo
inks would be a modern substitute but have never tried them.  This technique
goes back to the century before last!

Another variation uses whipping cream (double cream for Brits).  Inject
cream, cut frozen sections and do a fat stain to demonstrate the cream
lining the vessels injected.

A more modern alternative is to use barium hydroxide-gelatin injection and
X-ray.  There is a WHO protocol for this from the 1970s (????).

Bryan Llewellyn

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jeffrey S Crews" <>
To: <>
Cc: <>
Sent: October 20, 2000 5:08 PM
Subject: Re: Vasculature staining

> It's not really a histotechnique (at least not a microscopic one) per se,
> but there is a method in which the arteries and veins are injected with
> contrasting colors of plastic, and then the entire organ (or piece of it)
> is dehydrated and cleared in methyl salicylate so that it becomes
> transparent and the vasculature shows through. It then becomes a lovely
> conversation piece.
> I can't give you a reference, but I hope that someone will chime in with
> the details.
> Jeffrey S. Crews, HTL (ACSP)
> On Fri, 20 Oct 2000 15:31:14 -0400 Darren Robinson <>
> writes:
> >Wise-ones,
> >
> >I once met a bloke at a conference who told me that he had been
> >investigating the distribution of the arteries and veins in one of
> >the
> >major organs (I forget which one).  He described the staining
> >proceedures
> >he was using to me and said that the stain coloured the arteries blue
> >and
> >the veins red.  This impressed me to no end, but I walked away from
> >him
> >without asking what the name of the stain or combination of stains
> >was/were.  Now he may have been pulling my leg, this sort of thing
> >does go
> >on at conferences, but I would like to know if any of you out there
> >have
> >heard about or used a staining technique like it.  Also, if it turns
> >out
> >that he was pulling my leg, does anyone know of a good stain that
> >will
> >allow me to differentiate between the arteries and veins in wax
> >sections.
> >
> >Darren.
> >
> >P.S. If you are the man who pulled my leg, I demand an apology.
> >
> >
> >

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