[Histonet] Re: frozen section trichrome
I'm glad John Kiernan had the formula for the Engel-Cunningham frozen section
trichrome stain on hand.
I tried to set up that stain for human skeletal muscle frozen sections in
1969, when I was a fellow in the pathology department at Johns Hopkins. I was
unable to get the stain to work, and I finally visited Guy Cunningham, the
histotechnologist in W. King Engel's muscle pathology laboratory at the National
Institutes of Health. They let me look at their procedure in detail. I noted that
they were using a true Harris hematoxylin - oxidized with mercuric oxide -
while we were using an iodate-oxidized hematoxylin, home-made (John R. Baker's
formula) in our research lab. I quickly purloined some Harris hematoxylin from
the cytopathology service, and after that the stain worked fine. I added
mercuric chloride to our standard hematoxylin, and that worked too.
That was 35 years ago. You couldn't buy hematoxylin with mercury in it
nowadays, and you wouldn't want to make it either. There are still commercial
hematoxylins labeled Harris hematoxylin, which I think now means "any alum
hematoxylin our marketing department wants to call Harris hematoxylin".
I'm curious to know what's become of this problem.
former Samurai Pathologist
now at Gaston Memorial Hospital, Gastonia NC
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