Osmium Ammine for Staining DNA in Electron Microscopy

  • Irene Masiello
  • Marco BiggiogeraEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1560)


The osmium ammine staining allows the specific detection of DNA in the cell nucleus and represents one of the most used techniques for EM cytochemistry.

The procedure is a Feulgen-type reaction, consisting of an acid hydrolysis to obtain free aldehyde groups on DNA followed by their binding to osmium ammine, a Schiff-type reagent. Osmium ammine is polyamminic electron-dense compound commercially available.

Here, we describe the staining procedure for ultrathin sections and the different procedures for the preparation of the reagent for acrylic and epoxy sections.

Key words

DNA staining Osmium ammine Cytochemistry Feulgen reaction Schiff reagent Electron microscopy 



The authors would like to thank Ms. Francine Flach for excellent technical skill in preparing the ultrathin sections.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology and Biotechnology, Laboratory of Cell Biology and NeurobiologyUniversity of PaviaPaviaItaly

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