Selective staining of endocrine cells by basic dyes after acid hydrolysis

Enrico Solcia, Gabriele Vassallo, Carlo Capella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Staining of tissue sections by basic dyes after immersion in hot hydrochloric acid (0.2 N for 3-10 hr at 60 C) provides a means for selective detection of many endocrine cells. The acid hydrolysis suppresses diffuse basophilia, mainly due to RNA, DNA and acid polysaccharides, and increases the basophilia of secretory granules in endocrine cells, due, at least in part, to the proteins they store. After such treatment, toluidine blue or azur A (0.01-0.005% in 0.02 M McIlvaine buffer, pH 5) or pseudoisocyanin (0.02% in distilled water) heavily stain A and D cells of pancreatic islets, enterochromaffin and nonenterochromaffin endocrine cells of the gastrointestinal mucosa, thyroid parafollicular or C cells, pituitary basophil cells and adrenalin-secreting cells of the adrenal medulla.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-263
Number of pages7
JournalBiotechnic and Histochemistry
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1968

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Histology
  • Medical Laboratory Technology

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