Histological Staining Techniques

Celestine blue
(Lendrum, McFarlane 1940)

Celestine blue is used along with an alum haematoxylin as a nuclear stain which is resistant to decolourisation by succeeding acid stains and solutions.

Celestine blue B - 0.5g
Ferric ammonium sulphate (iron alum) - 5g
Glycerin - 14ml
Distilled water - 100ml
Dissolve the iron alum in the distilled water without heat.  Add the celestine blue and boil for 3 minutes.  Filter when cool and add the glycerin.  The stain should keep for at least 6 months.

A typical celestine blue/haemalum sequence:

  • Dewax sections, rinse in alcohol, rinse in water.
  • Stain in celestine blue - 5 minutes.
  • Rinse in water.
  • Stain in Mayer's or Harris' haematoxylin - 5 minutes.
  • Wash well in running tap water.
  • Differentiation may, or may not be necessary depending on the method in use.

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