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


Verhoeff's stain for myelin and elastin


Can Verhoeff's elastic tissue stain (iron hematoxylin with iodine) be used to stain myelin sheaths?


H. Puchtler and F. S. Waldrop published "On the Mechanism of Verhoeff's Elastica Stain: A Convenient Stain for Myelin Sheath" in Histochemistry 62:233-247 (1979).

They stated: "Verhoeff's elastica stain is definitely not specific for elastin and is inferior to orcein and resorcin-fuchsin because of the required differentiation with its inherent bias to produce patterns which conform to expectations. However, Verhoeff's elastica stain is far superior to other metal-hematein technics for myelin sheaths. The combined Verhoeff-picro-Sirius Red F3BA stain can be performed in 30 min and does not require differentiation. It is therefore suggested to reclassify Verhoeff's elastica stain as a method for myelin sheaths."

Freida Carson