Histology is no rocket science. It basically deals with the appearance of a particular tissue under the microscope. In most medical schools in the country histology teaching requires a magnification of about 100 times (known as 10X magnification).  In this chapter we will deal with the various aspects and approaches to slide identification.


The stain most commonly used to color the tissue sections on glass slides is Hematoxylin and Eosin (popularly referred to as H&E stain). The hematoxylin portion of the stain imparts a blue (or violet) color to certain components of the tissue and the eosin stains rest of the tissue pink. The most important point to remember is that H&E stain colors only proteins.  Generally, the nuclear components of the tissue stain blue and the rest stain pink. This is a very important feature to note.

The first thing that you are supposed to do, as you are looking at a slide under the microscope, is to turn your attention to the blue (violet) color. This needs a bit of practice because when you’re looking at a slide, the red (pink) color overwhelms your vision so that you don’t see anything but pink. This step is a key step in slide identification- HISTO BLUES.

The next step is to identify any key patterns in the arrangement of the blue colored structures in the tissue. The usual types of patterns seen under a microscope are linear, circular, clustered and diffuse. This is not a strict nomenclature. Many other different patterns can be seen. You can call this step- DOT PATTERNS.

Once a specific pattern is identified, turn you attention to the red (pink) color. The pink stain around the blue colored structures represents the cytoplasm of the cells in the tissue. This means that a circular pattern of the blue dots can be interpreted as a circular arrangement of cells. Thus the pattern of the blue colored structures (nuclei) is proxy measure for identifying cellular arrangement in a tissue. All other pink staining areas, except around the nuclei, are generally extracellular. RED DISTRACTS. 

It is very important to understand that the above mentioned sequence of steps is very basic to the identification of any tissue (stained with H&E) under a microscope.





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