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Common histology stains

Stain Common use Nucleus Cytoplasm Red blood cell (RBC) Collagen fibers Specifically stains
Haematoxylin General staining when paired with eosin Blue N/A N/A N/A Nucleic acids—blue

Rough Endoplasmic Reticulum (RER) —blue

Eosin General staining when paired with haematoxylin N/A Pink Orange/red Pink Elastic fibers—pink

Reticular fibers—pink

Toluidine blue General staining Blue Blue Blue Blue Mast cells granules—purple
Masson's trichrome stain Connective tissue Black Red/pink Red Blue/green Cartilage—blue/green

Muscle fibers—red

Mallory's trichrome stain Connective tissue Red Pale red Orange Deep blue Keratin—orange

Cartilage—blue Bone matrix—deep blue Muscle fibers—red

Weigert's elastic stain Elastic fibers Blue/black N/A N/A N/A Elastic fibers—blue/black
Heidenhains'azan trichrome stain Distinguishing cells from extracellular components Red/purple Pink Red Blue Muscle fibers—red

Cartilage—blue Bone matrix—blue

Silver stain Reticular fibers, nerve fibers N/A N/A N/A Reticular fibers—brown/black

Nerve fibers—brown/black

Wright's stain Blood cells Bluish/purple Bluish/gray Red/pink N/A Neutrophil granules—purple/pink

Eosinophil granules—bright red/orange Basophil granules—deep purple/violet Platelet granules—red/purple

Orcein stain Elastic fibres Deep blue or crazy red N/A Bright red Pink Elastic fibres—dark brown

Mast cells granules—purple Smooth muscle—light blue

Periodic acid-Schiff stain (PAS) Basement membrane, localizing carbohydrates Blue N/A N/A Pink Glycogen and other carbohydrates—magenta

Nissl method - neurons Golgi method - neurons

Based on: Michael H. Ross, Wojciech Pawlina, (2006). Histology: A Text and Atlas. Hagerstown, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Historic Histology

Internet Archive -

Practical histology (1901)

Author: Langley, J. N. (John Newport), 1852-1925 Subject: Histology Publisher: London, Macmillan and Co., Limited; New York, The Macmillan Co.

Normal histology (1904)

Author: Dunham, Edward Kellogg, 1860-1922 Subject: Histology Publisher: New York Lea brothers

Stoehr's histology (1906)

Author: Philipp Stoehr Publisher: P. Blakiston Year: 1906