The Histochemical Journal

, Volume 6, Issue 6, pp 599–609 | Cite as

The influence of salt on the staining of tissue sections with basic dyes: An investigation into the general applicability of the critical electrolyte concentration theory

  • R. W. Horobin
  • D. J. Goldstein


The effects of varying the concentration of salt in the dyebath on the patterns and intensities of staining of tissue sections by basic dyes were studied. Eleven basic dyes of various types were investigated, each at several salt concentrations, usually in acidic aqueous dyebaths but in some instances also in alcoholic or alkaline aqueous baths. The dyes used included most of those previously studied by others in critical electrolyte concentration investigations involving model systems.

As the salt concentration in the dyebaths rose, the usual effect was that the staining intensities of some structures decreased whilst that of others increased. Consequently, the overall staining patterns were complicated and were often quite unlike the simple critical electrolyte concentration patterns previously reported for the staining of model systems by the same dyes. It is important, and unfortunate, for histochemical analysis that the nature of the anionic tissue functional group (i.e. carboxylate, phosphate or sulphate) did not appear to be the crucial factor in determining the staining patterns observed.


Phosphate Sulphate Carboxylate Tissue Section Salt Concentration 
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Copyright information

© Chapman and Hall Ltd 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. W. Horobin
    • 1
  • D. J. Goldstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Human Biology and AnatomyThe University of SheffieldUK

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