Histology FAQ

Staining, Histochemistry and Histotechnology

(Frequently Asked Questions)


Dr. John A. Kiernan
Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology
The University of Western Ontario
London, Canada



FAQ Home > Staining Methods, Histochemistry


Confusing dye names (lissamine fast red as an example)


Is there another name for Lissamine Fast Red? I can't find it under this name in any dye catalog.


Five or six people identified at least three different dyes in the answers to this HistoNet query in August 1998. This emphasizes the importance of identifying dyes by Colour Index numbers whenever possible. A name like "Lissamine" has no chemical significance and may be attached to widely differing compounds! Some opinions follow (mine is No. 3). Probably all are correct, and there are different uses for the simlarly named dyes.
J. A. Kiernan

1. Another name for Lissamine Fast Red is Acid Red 37.  You can try BDH with next Cat no 341772K and it comes in 25 gram containers.

2. I suspect that the dye you're looking for is Sulforhodamine B, also known as Lissamine rhodamine B 200, Acid rhodamine B. The dyers assoc. refer to it as C.I.Acid Red 52. Its C.I.Number is C.I. 45100.

3. The nearest entry in Conn's Biological Stains (9th ed,, 1977) is amidonaphthol red 5B (C.I. 18055, Acid violet 7). Synonyms include lissamine red 6B and many others. The Colour Index number (or application name) is the most reliable identifier of a dye. It should be mentioned in the published instructions for a method. If it isn't, your best bet is to find another, properly explained staining technique for the job.

4. My assumption has been that the lissamine fast red referred to is the same that Lendrum used in his published method for muscle fibres. The dye name has the synonym Acid red 37, Colour Index no. 17045. It appears in Floyd Green's excellent reference book "The Sigma Aldrich Handbook of Stains, Dyes and Indicators" with the further synonyms anthranal red G and fast light red B. The dye synonyms list I refer to most frequently as an easy-to-use first stop was published as a "give away" by Difco in 1974.