Turnbull's Blue for Ferrous Iron
Iron deposits in the body are usually ferric compounds such as hemosiderin. Occasionally ferrous iron deposits are encountered, sometimes from mining activity or foreign bodies. These iron deposits may be demonstrated with Tirmann Schmelzers's Turnbull's blue. The method is very similar to Perls' Prussian blue, but uses potassium ferricyanide instead of ferrocyanide. The ferrous iron reacts with the potassium ferricyanide to form ferrous ferricyanide. This is an insoluble, blue compound known as Turnbull's blue. The intensity of the colour gives some indication as to amount, but it is qualitative only.
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5µ paraffin sections of neutral buffered formalin fixed tissue are suitable. Avoid iron containing materials and jars while fixing as these may contaminate the tissue. Acid containing fixatives may remove some of the iron deposits, but apart from that most are satisfactory.
Culling C.F.A., (1974)
Handbook of histopathological and histochemical techniques Ed. 3
Butterworth, London, UK.
Last updated May 2005.