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Anal Quant Cytol Histol. 1991 Aug;13(4):253-60.

A comparative study of quantitative stains for DNA in image cytometry.

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  • 1Department of Cellular Pathology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, D.C.


In this study we examined the reproducibility of several stains used to measure nuclear DNA by image cytometry. The specimens were touch preparations of liver and testis from mouse and liver, intestine and brain from rat, fixed in either neutral formalin or Carnoy's solution. The tested stains included four Feulgen methods (pararosaniline, azure-A, thionin and acriflavine), the gallocyanine-chromalum stain and two fluorescent stains (acridine orange and propidium iodide). Absorbance measurements employed a video image analysis system; fluorescence measurements were from a scanning microspectrophotometer. The acriflavine-Feulgen stain was analyzed for both absorbance and fluorescence. All seven stains were quantitative for DNA and gave reproducible results. The absorbance measurements had a lower coefficient of variation (CV) than the fluorescence values. In a nested analysis of variance of the pararosaniline Feulgen stains, cell-to-cell variability accounted for 67% of the total variance; slide-to-slide, 9%; and batch-to-batch, 24%. These values did not change significantly when the staining was performed in an automatic staining machine. For DNA analysis using image cytometry, we conclude that the Feulgen staining technique is the most useful. In particular, acriflavine-Feulgen-stained cells fixed in Carnoy's fluid give the least variation between measurement values and the most accurate ratios between the separate ploidy groups. For fluorescence cytometry we recommend Carnoy's fixation and the acriflavine-Feulgen stain because of its narrow CV as compared to acridine orange and propidium iodide.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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