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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

New tetrachromic VOF stain (Type III-G.S) for normal and pathological fish tissues.

A new VOF Type III-G.S stain was applied to histological sections of different organs and tissues of healthy and pathological larvae, juvenile and adult fish species (Solea senegalensis; Sparus aurata; Diplodus sargo; Pagrus auriga; Argyrosomus regius and Halobatrachus didactylus). In comparison to the original Gutiérrez VOF stain, more acid dyes of contrasting colours and polychromatic/metachromatic properties were incorporated as essential constituents of the tetrachromic VOF stain. This facilitates the selective staining of different basic tissues and improves the morphological analysis of histochemical approaches of the cell components. The VOF Type III -6.5 stain is composed of a mixture of several dyes of varying size and molecular weight (Orange G<acid Fuchsin<Light green<Methyl Blue<Fast Green), which are used simultaneously, and it enables the individual tissues to be selectively differentiated and stained. Muscle fibers, collagen, reticulin and elastin fibers, erythrocytes, cartilage, bone, mucous cells, oocytes and larvae were selectively stained and differentiated. Dyes with small size and molecular weight (i.e Orange G), penetrate all tissue structures rapidly, but are only tightly retained in densely textured tissues (i.e erythrocytes). Methyl Blue is an interesting triarylmethane dye (large size and molecular weight), which is incorporated in this new VOF tetrachrome stain, and acquires histochemical significance when used at acid pH (2.8) because collagen and reticulin fibers, as well basophilic and metachromatic substances (strongly ionized sulphated glycoconjugates) can be identified. Muscle tissues show an evident green colour (Fast Green or Light Green affinities), even those isolated and/or diffuse muscle fibers present in the digestive submucosa layer. Connective tissues showed a specific and strong blue colour (Methyl Blue affinity) or mixed blue-red staining (Methyl Blue and Acid Fucshin affinities). Very noticeable is the staining of the mucous cells, as well as the hyaline capsule of the viral lymphocystic cells, which were stained blue-purple (carboxylated and/or strongly ionized sulphated groups). Cartilaginous tissues showed a blue or purple (Methyl Blue affinity) staining, and a specific red colour (Acid Fucshin affinity) was evident during calcification or in bone structures (i.e skeleton, fins, gills, teeth).[1]


  1. New tetrachromic VOF stain (Type III-G.S) for normal and pathological fish tissues. Sarasquete, C., Gutiérrez, M. European journal of histochemistry : EJH. (2005) [Pubmed]
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