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Staining of macromolecules: possible mechanisms and examples.

This review is based on a presentation given at the Biological Stain Commission meeting in June 2008. I discuss staining as an interaction between dye, solvent, and biological macromolecules. Most staining takes place in water, where the physico-chemical properties of the macromolecules are particularly important. Staining from aqueous solution is summarized. The first step is diffusion-ion exchange, which builds up the dye ion concentration close to the appropriately charged tissue constituents. While charge interactions are important for selectivity and build-up of dye ions around specific tissue and cell constituents, they have in most cases little to do with actual dye binding. The next step, actual binding, is predominantly between aromatic and other non-polar parts of the dye and corresponding groups in the tissue constituent. This results in a reduction of the total hydrophobic area exposed to water, hence the term hydrophobic interaction. Because dye binding is predominantly by dispersive forces, the larger the aromatic dye system and the fewer the number of charges on the dye, the greater the substantivity or affinity. Some relatively straightforward anionic or cationic one-step staining systems are discussed also. These include amyloid staining with Congo red, elastin staining with orceins, collagen staining with picrofuchsin, DNA-RNA staining with methyl green-pyronin Y, acid heteroglycan staining with Alcian blue, and metachromatic staining.

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Evaluation of the overall accuracy of the DeLaval cell counter for somatic cell counts in ovine milk.

The DeLaval cell counter (DCC) is a portable device designed for on-farm somatic cell count (SCC) analysis in bovine milk. This study evaluated the performance of the DCC when analyzing ovine milk. A total of 29 composite ovine milk samples, ranging between 20 x 10(3) and 2,200 x 10(3) cells/mL, were divided into 15 aliquots/milk sample corresponding to 5 SCC methods using 3 types of preservation (unpreserved, azidiol, and bronopol). The SCC methods were the Fossomatic (FSCC), the DCC in undiluted samples, and the DCC in samples diluted 1:1 in 3 different types of diluents (PBS + Triton X-100, PBS + ethidium bromide + Triton X-100, and PBS + propidium iodide + Triton X-100). All analyses were carried out in duplicate. In addition, each sample was analyzed in quadruplicate by the direct microscopic method (DMSCC) using Pyronin Y-methyl green as a stain. Comparison of methods was based on overall accuracy studies (means comparison, repeatability, and regression studies vs. DMSCC and FSCC as reference methods). The DCC methods used to analyze milk samples diluted in staining solution (with ethidium bromide or propidium iodide) showed large coefficients of regression (b = 0.91 to 1.01) and correlation (r > 0.99) when compared with the DMSCC and FSCC methods. In these samples the DCC gave repeatability values (s(r) = 33 to 48 x 10(3) cells/mL) similar to the DMSCC (s(r) = 36 x 10(3) cells/mL), and their log SCC means (5.52 to 5.54) did not differ from the reference value (5.54). However, undiluted samples analyzed by the DCC method showed large standard deviations of repeatability and SCC values lower than those by the DMSCC or FSCC methods, probably because of the high solids content in ovine milk. The type of preservation did not affect the outcomes. Consequently, the DCC was determined to be accurate when analyzing diluted ovine milk based on comparison with the SCC reference methods.

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Histological staining methods preparatory to laser capture microdissection significantly affect the integrity of the cellular RNA.

Gene expression profiling by microarray analysis of cells enriched by laser capture microdissection (LCM) faces several technical challenges. Frozen sections yield higher quality RNA than paraffin-imbedded sections, but even with frozen sections, the staining methods used for histological identification of cells of interest could still damage the mRNA in the cells. To study the contribution of staining methods to degradation of results from gene expression profiling of LCM samples, we subjected pellets of the mouse plasma cell tumor cell line TEPC 1165 to direct RNA extraction and to parallel frozen sectioning for LCM and subsequent RNA extraction. We used microarray hybridization analysis to compare gene expression profiles of RNA from cell pellets with gene expression profiles of RNA from frozen sections that had been stained with hematoxylin and eosin (H&E), Nissl Stain (NS), and for immunofluorescence (IF) as well as with the plasma cell-revealing methyl green pyronin (MGP) stain. All RNAs were amplified with two rounds of T7-based in vitro transcription and analyzed by two-color expression analysis on 10-K cDNA microarrays.

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Methyl green-pyronin Y staining of nucleic acids: studies on the effects of staining time, dye composition and diffusion rates.

Since the introduction of the methyl green-pyronin Y procedure as a differential histological stain more than 100 years ago, the method has become a histochemical procedure for differential demonstration of DNA and RNA. Numerous variants of the procedure have been suggested, and a number of hypotheses have been put forward concerning kinetics and binding mechanisms. Using both filter paper models containing DNA, RNA or heparin and histological sections, we have attempted to evaluate the kinetics of staining and the role of staining time for methyl green and pyronin Y by applying the dyes individually, simultaneously and sequentially. The results are presented as color charts approximating the observed staining patterns using a computerized palette. Our results indicate unequivocally that the differential staining is not time-dependent, but that it is dictated by the relative concentrations of methyl green and pyronin Y and by the pH of the staining solution.

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[Reperfusion injury in the isolated rat liver after hypothermic preservation].

Histological changes which appear as a result of reperfusion injury of cold-preserved rat liver were studied at intervals of 0 hr, 3 hr, 24 hr and 48 hr of cold storage. The isolated livers were stored in a UW solution (University of Wisconsin), which is used in human liver transplantations. Computer image analysis of light microscopic sections (methyl green-pyronin stained) was used for the study and quantification of injured cells. The method of TUNEL was performed to prove possible apoptosis of sinusoidal endothelial cells and heptocytes. Bile production during reperfusion and ALT, AST, LDH and ACP were measured in the reperfusion medium at the end of the 90 min reperfusion. It has been confirmed that prolongation of the cold storage of liver results in extensive changes in the liver structure and increased injury of liver cells. Sinusoidal endothelial cells were damaged more and earlier than hepatocytes. It has been shown that methyl green-pyronin stained sections are advantageous for the study of these morphological changes, allowing the strongest view of these changes. The appearance of TUNEL positive cells and an increase in the levels of biochemical parameters, e.g. AST or ALT, indicate earlier cell injury. The methodology described in this article can be used for the study of reperfusion injury of the liver and for the study of this phenomenon in other experiments.

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Effects of various decalcification protocols on detection of DNA strand breaks by terminal dUTP nick end labelling.

To analyse DNA strand breaks by terminal deoxy(d)-UTP nick-end labelling (TUNEL) in calcified tissues including bones and teeth, it is important to decalcify the tissues first. However, the effects of decalcifying reagents on the integrity of DNA are largely unknown. In the present study, we evaluated the usefulness of various decalcifying reagents including 10% EDTA (pH 7.4), 5% trichloroacetic acid (TCA), 5% formic acid, 5% HCl, 10% nitric acid, Plank-Rychlo's solution, Morse's solution and K-CX solution in TUNEL staining. Mouse maxilla was selected as the experimental system. Apoptotic cells naturally occurring in the epithelium were analysed. Tissues were assessed by soft X-ray imaging to confirm complete decalcification. The time required for decalcification of the tissue was 7 days with 10% EDTA and 2 days with other decalcifiers. Decalcified tissues were stained with Methyl/Green-Pyronine Y or 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole for assessment of DNA integrity. Nuclei of epithelial cells were strongly positive for both dyes after decalcification with 10% EDTA, 5% TCA, Morse's solution and 5% formic acid. The other reagents failed to retain DNA. Our results demonstrated good TUNEL staining of the maxilla treated with 10% EDTA or 5% TCA. Based on the required time for processing and the signal-noise ratio, we recommend 5% TCA as the decalcifying reagent to analyse for DNA strand breaks.

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[Effects of met-enkephalin on the testis. II. Histochemical study].

We performed a histochemical study using the Alcian blue-PAS staining method (for mucopolysaccharide), vitamin C, Sudan black (for lipids), and methyl green-pyronine (for nucleic acid). For the study, we utilized 105 male Wistar rats weighing 280-300 gms. Thirty rats comprised the control group, and 75 comprised the study group. Rats in the study group received a single, acute intracardiac dose of met-enkephalin (100 microliters of 50% met-enkephalin solution) and were sacrificed at 15, 30 and 60 minutes following injection, or a chronic intramuscular dose (50 microliters of 40% met-enkephalin solution). We observed that met-enkephalin caused histochemical changes in the rat testis, as evidenced by the accumulation of mucopolysaccharide (early in the study), cytoplasm lipid degeneration, changes in protein synthesis, and a fall in vitamin C stores (in seminal epithelium cell lines, as well as Leydig cells). These changes were more marked in the chronically than in the acutely-treated rats. The foregoing findings demonstrate that enkephalins (endogenous opiates) can cause profound metabolic changes in the rat testis that affect all its metabolic elements [proteins, lipids, polysaccharides and active substances (vitamins...)].

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The correlation between uptake of methyl green and Feulgen staining intensity of cell nuclei. An image analysis study.

Paraffin sections of rat tissue fixed in either formaldehyde solution (3.6% w/v) or in Carnoy's fluid were stained using standardized Methyl Green-Pyronin procedures with the dyes used either simultaneously or in sequence. The sections were evaluated for the uptake of the two dyes by cell nuclei, nucleoli and cytoplasm using colour TV-image analysis. The parameters measured were integrated optical density and the surface area of the object. The sections were then destained and a Feulgen reaction was performed. The coordinates of the cells measured after the simultaneous Methyl Green-Pyronin method were stored in the computer, making it possible to measure the same cells in the Feulgen-restained sections. Image analysis gave results which invalidate the sequential methods as opposed to the simultaneous method. Mean optical densities were significantly increased for both dyes with the simultaneous method after formaldehyde fixation as compared to Carnoy fixation. The quantitative correlation of Methyl Green and DNA in the simultaneous technique was found to parallel exactly that of the Feulgen stain. In conclusion, the simultaneous Methyl Green-Pyronin technique is recommended while the sequential methods seem to be of less value.

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The maturation of Theileria annulata in Hyalomma anatolicum anatolicum stimulated by incubation or feeding to produce sporozoites.

Adult Hyalomma anatolicum anatolicum ticks infected with Theileria annulata (Hissar strain) were incubated at 36 degrees C or fed on rabbits. Tick salivary glands were stained whole with methyl green pyronin or ground up and deposited on microscope slides and stained with Giemsa's solution. Separate batches of ticks from both treatments were ground up, centrifuged and filtered to produce sporozoite suspensions. The suspensions were examined as deposits on microscope slides stained with Giemsa's solution. The Theileria in the salivary glands of the fed ticks matured more completely and rapidly than in the incubated ticks. The peak numbers of sporozoites from the fed ticks was greater by at least tenfold than the peak from the incubated ticks. This peak was on the third day of feeding or on the fourth day of incubation. It was confirmed that fed ticks will be more suitable for sporozoite production for infection of cattle and production of stabilates.

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Purity of commercial non-certified European samples of Pyronin Y.

The purity of six European non-certified samples of Pyronin Y was compared with that of two American samples certified by the Biological Stain Commission. The methods used were spectrophotometry and a Methyl Green-Pyronin staining test (both as applied by the Biological Stain Commission), thin layer chromatography, mass spectrometry, determination of pH, and content of some electrolytes. It was found that none of the European batches of Pyronin Y passed the complete test as prescribed by the Biological Stain Commission. Their dye content was uniformly low (between 5 and 19%). Furthermore, thin layer chromatography and mass spectrometry revealed that two of the dye samples contained no Pyronin Y or only traces. It is concluded that assessment of an unknown sample of a dye labelled Pyronin Y should be initiated with thin layer chromatography. The pH and content of electrolytes in an aqueous solution of the dye should also be determined in order to obtain reproducible staining results. Finally, the value of the work performed by the Biological Stain Commission is underlined, although more sophisticated methods are necessary for testing the purity of dyestuffs.

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