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Histochem J. 1990 May;22(5):299-308.

Histochemical classification based upon reaction types and its application to carbohydrate histochemistry.

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Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


A method of classification is presented, which divides histochemical visualization reactions into categories based on general reaction types. This scheme is dependent upon the reaction between two elements, the substrate and the probe. The substrate represents a tissue component(s) with one or more reactive groups that can combine directly with the probe. Alternatively, the substrate reactive groups are chemically modified (activation) with a suitable reagent before reaction with the probe. Probes are of three types: those that yield a coloured product, those that result in a colourless product, and those that produce a coloured product only after a further reaction. Methods used in carbohydrate histochemistry are divided into one, two and three probe reactions. Two probe reactions are further subdivided into sequences involving one or two coloured products (one and two dye sequences); three probe reactions into sequences involving one, two or three coloured products (one, two and three dye sequences). This classification permits the rationalization and organization of methods, and provides a framework for the examination of existing methods and the development of new ones.

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