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Stain Technol. 1989 May;64(3):129-38.

A versatile new mineralized bone stain for simultaneous assessment of tetracycline and osteoid seams.

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Division of Basic Sciences, Harrington Arthritis Research Center, Phoenix, Arizona 85006.


A versatile mineralized bone stain (MIBS) for demonstrating osteoid seams and tetracycline fluorescence simultaneously in thin or thick undecalcified sections has been developed. Bone specimens are fixed in 70% ethanol, but 10% buffered formalin is permissible. Depending upon one's preference, these specimens can be left unstained or be prestained before plastic embedding. Osteoid seams are stained green to jade green, or light to dark purple. Mineralized bone matrix is unstained or green. Osteoblast and osteoclast nuclei are light to dark purple, cytoplasm varies from slightly gray to pink. The identification of osteoid seams by this method agrees closely with identification by in vivo tetracycline uptake using the same section from the same biopsy. The method demonstrates halo volumes, an abnormal, lacunar, low density bone around viable osteocytes in purple. This phenomenon is commonly seen in vitamin D-resistant rickets, fluorosis, renal osteodystrophy, hyperparathyroidism, and is sometimes seen in fluoride treated osteoporotic patients. In osteomalacic bone, most osteoid seams are irregularly stained as indicated by the presence of unmineralized osteoid between mineralized lamellae. The method has been used effectively in staining new bone formation in hydroxyapatite implants and bone grafts. Old, unstained, plastic embedded undecalcified sections are stained as well as fresh sections after removal of the coverslip. This stain also promises to be valuable in the study of different metabolic bone diseases from the point of view of remodeling, histomorphometry, and pathology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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