Author(s): Kirly K, Lapvetelinen T, Arokoski J, Trrnen K, Mdis L,
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Abstract Selected commonly used cationic dyes, viz. Thionin, Safranin O, Toluidine Blue O, Dimethylmethylene Blue, Cuprolinic Blue, Cupromeronic Blue, N,N'-Diethylpseudoisocyanine, and a modified PAS-method, and staining methods with a variety of alternative procedures, e.g., variation of pH, use of the critical electrolyte concentration method, and blocking reactions (methylation-saponification, carboxymethylation), were tested to select optimal staining procedures for the semiquantitative histochemical estimation of glycosaminoglycans by microspectrophotometry in sections of articular cartilage. The methods were carried out on 3 microns-thick paraffin and 1 microns-thick glycolmethacrylate sections of bovine articular cartilage. The staining intensity of the sections was measured from spots 25 microns apart using a Leitz MPV 3 microspectrophotometer, starting at the surface of the cartilage and ending up at the tidemark. The result was compared with the fixed-charge density graph determined from the adjacent articular cartilage. Of the dyes tested, Thionin and Safranin O proved to be excellent cationic dyes for the histochemical quantification of cartilage matrix proteoglycans, since the staining intensity curves showed a linear correlation (r = 0.900-0.995) with the fixed charge density curves from the adjacent cartilage. Also, the stain distribution was consistently uniform across the sections. In 1 microns-thick glycolmethacrylate sections, the Safranin O staining gradient showed almost perfect identity with the fixed-charge density curve. Cuprolinic Blue and Cupromeronic Blue combined with the critical electrolyte concentration technique were also useful for the microspectrophotometric assays of glycosaminoglycans, but the presence of metachromasia should be checked prior to the measurements. The reliability of blocking procedures for quantitative histochemical work was not convincing.
This article was published in Histochem J
and referenced in Anatomy & Physiology: Current Research