Maximow's metachromatic stain


Ethanol, 50%, saturated with thionin.
Sodium carbonate, 0.3% w/v aqueous.

Tissue sample
Alcohol fixed tissues are recommended, but 5µ paraffin sections of neutral buffered formalin fixed tissue may be suitable. Other fixatives may be satisfactory.


  1. Dewax with xylene and bring sections to 70% ethanol.
  2. Stain with the thionin solution for 24 to 48 hours.
  3. Blot section dry.
  4. Rinse twice with 95% ethanol.
  5. Rinse well with absolute ethanol.
  6. Clear with xylene and mount with a resinous medium.

Expected results


  1. For a more rapid stain, add 4 drops of the sodium carbonate solution to 20 mL of the thionin solution. Mix and leave overnight. Filter this solution and apply to the sections for 30 minutes. Proceed with step 3 (blot dry).


McManus, J.F.A. and Mowry, R.W., (1960),
Staining methods, histologic and histochemical, pp. 261.
Harper & Row, New York, NY, USA.




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