Vol 61, No 2 (2023)
Original paper
Published online: 2023-06-12

open access

Page views 1382
Article views/downloads 393
Get Citation

Connect on Social Media

Connect on Social Media

The effectiveness of using dye models for small tissue biopsies in the surgical pathology laboratory

Predaporn Nonsiri1, Potchara Srivilai23, Supatsorn Onkaew4, Nontawat Benjakul45
Pubmed: 37435899
Folia Histochem Cytobiol 2023;61(2):123-129.


Introduction. Losing of small tissues during tissue preparatory steps may seriously affect pathological diagnostic performance. Using an appropriate tissue marking dye could be an alternative solution. Therefore, the aim of the study was to find a suitable tissue marking dye to enhance the observable ability of various types of small-size tissues during several steps of tissue preparation. Material and methods. Various small-size samples of various organs and tissues (0.2 to 0.3 cm), including breast, endometrial, and cervical tissue, stomach, small and large intestine, lung, and kidney, were marked with different dyes such as merbromin, hematoxylin, eosin, crystal violet, and alcian blue prior to tissue processing step and their colored-observable ability was evaluated by pathology assistants. Moreover, the diagnostic interfering effect of each tissue marking dye was determined by pathologists. Results. Merbromin, hematoxylin, and alcian blue increased the colored-observable ability of small tissue samples. We suggest using hematoxylin as a tissue marking dye over merbromin and alcian blue because of less toxicity and no interference effect in the step of routine pathological slide examination. Conclusions. Hematoxylin could be a suitable tissue marking dye for small-size samples and may improve the preanalytical process of tissue preparation in pathological laboratories.

Article available in PDF format

View PDF Download PDF file


  1. Lott R, Tunnicliffe JS, Sheppard E, et al. Practical Guide to Specimen Handling in Surgical Pathology. College of American Pathologists. 2020; 9: 9–17.
  2. UChicago Medicine Gross Pathology. Small tissue pieces. https://voices.uchicago.edu/grosspathology/special-processing/small-tissue-pieces. (14.02.2023).
  3. Moussa AS, Li J, Soriano M, et al. Prostate biopsy clinical and pathological variables that predict significant grading changes in patients with intermediate and high grade prostate cancer. BJU Int. 2009; 103(1): 43–48.
  4. Raff LJ, Engel G, Beck KR. The effectiveness of inking needle core prostate biopsies for preventing patient specimen identification errors: a technique to address Joint Commission patient safety goals in specialty laboratories. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2009; 133(2): 295–297.
  5. Westra WH, Hruban RH, Phelps TH, Isacson CI. Surgical Pathology Dissection: An Illustrated guide. 2nd ed. Springer, New York 2003.
  6. Diaz-Perez J, Garcia-Vera J. Processing principles in surgical pathology. Lulu.com, Barking 2003.
  7. Woods AE, Ellis RC. Laboratory histopathology: A complete Reference [Internet]. Churchill Livingstone, New York 1994.
  8. Suvarna SK, Layton C. The gross room/surgical cut-u including samle handling. In: Suvarna SK, Layton C, Bancroft JD. ed. Bancroft’s theory and ractice of histological techniques. Elsevier, Amsterdam 2019: 64–72.
  9. Tampi C. In search of the rainbow: colored inks in surgical pathology. Indian J Pathol Microbiol. 2012; 55(2): 154–157.
  10. Sato K, Kusaka Y, Zhang Q, et al. An epidemiological study of mercury sensitization. Allergology International. 1997; 46(3): 201–206.
  11. Clark JA, Kasselberg AG, Glick AD, et al. Mercury poisoning from merbromin (Mercurochrome®) therapy of omphalocele. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 1982; 21(7): 445–447.
  12. Peter H, Gerard J, Frederik AA, et al. Case of merbromin (Mercurochrome®) intoxication possibly resulting in aplastic anemia. Acta Med Scand. 1979; 205: 463–466.
  13. George LK, John AK, George LK, John AK. Special Stains and H&E (Educational Guide). Vol. 8. John Wiley & Sons, Carpinteria 2010.
  14. Avwioro GO. Histochemical use of Haematoxylin - a review. Journal of Pharmacy and Clinical Sciences. 2011; 1: 24–34.
  15. Iyiola S, Avwioro OG. Alum haematoxylin stain for the demonstration of nuclear and extra nuclear substances. Journal of Pharmacy and Clinical Sciences. 2011; 1: 20–23.