, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 86-98

The chemical and histochemical properties of Alcian Blue

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It has been shown that AB combines electrostatically, in the main, with tissue polyanions. Uptake of AB into epithelial mucins is suppressed by lowering the pH of the dye solution. Introduction of sulphate ester groups almost always results in strong AB staining, even in those sections in which staining had been previously suppressed by treatment with sialidase. Differences between species have been noted, and considered in the discussion. It has been shown that the added electrolyte (NaCl, KCl, LiBr etc.) markedly enhances AB staining. An explanation of this, based on the polyvalent character of AB, is offered, in conformity with studies presented in Pt. I on polyanions in solution.

Supported by Research Grants D-1325, D-1326 and D-01952 of the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.