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How to re-stain a faded H&E tissue section
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How to re-stain a faded H&E tissue section


How to effectively re-stain a faded H&E tissue section?

Answer 1.

Don't decolonize. Soak the coverslip off and let it sit in xylene to make absolutely sure all the mounting media is off then simply re-stain it. If there is any mounting media left on it will interfere with the staining. Unless there's something wrong with either the section or the reagents, it should work just fine.

Amos Brooks

Answer 2.

You could treat the de-coverslipped section in 1% periodic acid (same as used in the PAS technique) for 30 minutes prior to H&E staining. This might improve the H&E staining. I believe Lee Luna suggested this but for the life of me, I can’t find the reference!

Tony Henwood MSc, BAppSc, GradDipSysAnalys, CT(ASC), FFSc(RCPA) (Retired)

Principal Scientist, the Children’s Hospital at Westmead (Retired)

Adjunct Fellow, School of Medicine, University of Western Sydney.

Answer 3.

Tony, I actually gave that tip to Lee back in 1979 when he came to OHSU to give a seminar to the Oregon Histology Society. I found out that when I was doing GMA and the pathologists didn’t like Gills Hematoxylin. They loved my PAS on GMA so I tried using 1% Periodic Acid before using Harris Hematoxylin for H&E’s on GMA and it turned out beautifully. Guess he shared my tip with the rest of our society. He and I became closer friends and we shared several tips, including his Movat’s tips which he didn’t publish, but I shared them in Frieda’s 4th Ed.

Akemi Allison-Tacha, BS, HT/HTL (ASCP)

Answer 4.

I thought he may have reported this in Histologic. This trick certainly works. You can notice the nuclear clarity on GIT and to a lesser extent skin biopsies stained with PAS.

Tony Henwood

Answer 5.

I recall learning the technique of using 1% periodic acid to brighten up dismal hematoxylin staining, when I was a resident at Johns Hopkins in 1970. I don't know where the histochemist I learned it from got it, though

Bob Richmond Maryville TN

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