Allen's Stain
for Mast Cells


Mayer's hemalum
Neutral red
Neutral red 0.5 g
Ethanol, 50% 100 mL

Tissue sample
Paraffin sections of neutral buffered formalin fixed tissue are suitable. Mercuric chloride fixatives are reputed to emphasise metachromasia. Other fixatives may be satisfactory.


  1. Bring sections to water via xylene and ethanol.
  2. Rinse with water.
  3. Stain nuclei lightly with alum hematoxylin.
  4. Rinse with tap water and blue hematoxylin.
  5. Rinse well with water.
  6. Place in neutral red for 10 minutes.
  7. Rinse with distilled water.
  8. Differentiate with 70% ethanol up to 10 minutes.
  9. Dehydrate with 96% ethanol up to 5 minutes.
  10. Dehydrate with N-butanol up to 10 minutes.
  11. Clear with xylene and mount using a resinous medium.

Expected results
Nuclei = blue
Mast cell granules = red

Culling, C F A, (1976).
Lynch's Medical Laboratory Technology., Ed. 3. Vol. II. pp. 980
W. B. Saunders Company, Toronto, Canada.

Putt, F A, (1972).
Manual of Histopathological Staining Methods., pp. 233
John Wiley & Sons, London, UK.




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