, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 277–285 | Cite as

Histochemistry of Alcian blue

I. Metachromasia of Alcian blue, Astrablau and other cationic phthalocyanin dyes
  • J. E. Scott


Alcian blue and related copper phthalocyanin dyes carrying cationic charges on substituent aliphatic groups are metachromatic. The unperturbed “orthochromatic” molecules are easily observed in non-protic solvents of moderately high dielectric constant e. g. dimethyl sulphoxide. Metachromasia is the result of mutual interactions between chromophores. The Alcian blues are aggregated and metachromatic in water at molar concentrations one hundredth those at which toluidine blue is mainly orthochromatic. The relevance of Alcian blue aggregation to the speed of staining, its use in critical electrolyte concentration techniques, and in microspectrophotometry, is considered.


Public Health Copper Dimethyl Phthalocyanin Molar Concentration 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. E. Scott
    • 1
  1. 1.M. R. C. Rheumatism Research UnitCanadian Red Cross Memorial HospitalTaplowEngland

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