All tags IHC Immunohistochemistry counterstains and special stains

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Immunohistochemistry counterstains and special stains

Find the right stain for your immunohistochemistry (IHC) experiment.

IHC stains provide contrast after immunodetection to improve visualization of the primary label or to stain specific structures or organisms. Here we summarize commonly used counterstains and special stains.

Chromogenic counterstains

Product nameSizeProduct code
Mayer's Hematoxylin60 mL/125 mLab128990

Fluorescent counterstains

Product nameColorEx/Em (nm)Product code
Nuclear yellow (Hoechst S769121)Blue355/495ab138903
Nuclear Green DCS1Green503/526ab138905

Find fluorescent dyes for live cell imaging here.

Special stains

Special stains are valuable in non-routine immunohistochemical staining for the identification of specific cells, tissues and organisms. Special stains are also useful for the evaluation of disease states and can be used in cell biology and histology.

Product nameApplication/descriptionProduct code
Acid Fast Bacteria (AFB) Stain KitStains microoganisms - specifically acid-fast bacteria and Tubercle bacilliab150660
Alcian Blue (pH 1.0) Stain KitStains mucins - acidic mucosubstances stained blue, nuclei pink to red and cytoplasm pale pink (for visualization of strongly sulfated mucosubstances)ab150661
Alcian Blue (pH 2.5) Stain KitStains mucins - acidic mucosubstances stained blue, nuclei pink to red and cytoplasm pale pink


Alizarin Red StainStains calcium - may not-specifically stain magnesium, manganese, barium, strontium or iron depending on concentration-
Amyloid Stain Kit (Congo Red)Stains amyloid depositsab150663
Colloidal Iron Stain KitStains mucinsab150664
Combined Eosionphil-Mast Cell Stain KitStains mucins - simultaneously visualize eosinophils and mast cellsab150665
Copper Stain KitStaining copper depositsab150666
Elastic Stain Kit (Modified Verhoff's)Stains connective tissue (eg elastin)ab150667
Fite's Stain KitStains microorganisms (eg Mycobacterium leprae)ab150668
Fontana-Masson Stain KitStains melanin and argetaffin granules blackab150669
Giemsa Stain Kit (May-Grunwald)Hematologic stain for visualizing cells in hematopoietic tissues and some microorganismsab150670
Hydroxystilbamidine        (also known as Fluoro-Gold™)Fluoresent label that can be used as a retrograde enhancer to label neurons (Ex/Em: 385/536 nm)ab138870
Modified Gomori Methenamine-Silver (GMS) Nitrate Stain KitStains fungi, basement membranes and some opportunistic organisms (eg Pneumocystis carinii)ab150671
Golgi Cox StainStains neuronal dendrites and dendritic spines-
Gram Stain KitStains microorganisms - differentiates between Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteriaab150672
H. pylori Rapid Stain KitStains Helicobacter pyloriab150673
Iron Stain Kit (Prussian Blue Stain)Stains iron - highly sensitive stain, stains ferric ions in tissue bright blueab150674
Luxol Fast Blue Stain KitStains myelinated axons in brain and spinal cord tissue blue, neurons violet and myelin and phospholipids blue/greenab150675
Methyl Green Pyronin (pH 4.8) Stain KitStains DNA, RNA and mast cell granulesab150676
Mucicarmine Stain KitStains mucinab150677
Nissl StainStains Nissl body in cytoplasm of neurons-
Oil Red O Stain KitStains lipids and fatab150678
Papanicolaou (PAP) Red Stain KitCytology stain - allows differentiation of a variety of cell types in bodily secretions such as gynecological smearsab150679
Periodic Acid Schiff (PAS) Stain KitStains mucin - stains glycogen, mucin and fungi magenta and nuclei black/blueab150680
Picro Sirius Red Stain KitStains connective tissue - specifically collagenab150681
Pneumocystis Stain KitStains Pneumoscystis cariniiab150682
Phosphotungstic Acid Hematoxylin (PTAH) Stain KitStaining connective tissue - specifically collagen, striate muscle and glial fibersab150683
Reticulum Stain KitStains reticular fibers in connective tissueab150684
Safranin O StainStains mucin, cartilage and mast cell granules-
Steiner Stain KitStains fungi, H.pylori, L. pneumophila and spirochete-infected tissueab150685
Sudan BlackStains lipids and fat blue/black and nuclei red-
Toluidine Blue StainStains nucleic acids blue and polysaccharides purple.  Mast cells are stained dark blue/red purple-
Trichome Stain Kit (Modified Masson's)Stains connective tissueab150686
Calcium Stain Kit (Modified Von Kossa)

Stains calcium grey to black in histology sections

Warthin-Starry Stain KitStains spirochetes, H. pylori, L. pneumophila and cat scratch fever bacteriaab150688

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