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

Histochemical stain for arsenic


Is there a staining method for showing the presence of arsenic in tissues?


Fix in 10% formalin containing 2.5% copper sulfate for 5 days. Wash for 24 hours in running water. Process and embed in parffin wax. Deparaffinized sections show green granules of Scheele's green (CuHAsO3) which, though insoluble in water, is dissolved by acids and by ammonium hydroxide. By substituting copper acetate for the sulfate, the green granular paris green or cupric acetoarsenite is produced. Its solubilities are similar (Castel's method, Bull. Histol. Appliq. 13: 106, 1936). A light safranine counterstain gives good contrast.

Source: R. D. Lillie 1965. Histopathologic Technic and Practical Histochemistry, 3rd ed. p. 445.

Roy Ellis