Miller's Stain
for Elastic Fibres


Weigert's iron hematoxylin or equivalent
Van Gieson's picro-fuchsin
Potassium permanganate, 0.25% aqu., for the Mallory bleach
Miller's solution
Victoria blue 4R 1 g
New fuchsin 1 g
Crystal violet 1 g
Resorcin 4 g
Dextrin 1 g
Ferric chloride, 30% aqu. 50 mL
Distilled water 200 mL
Ethanol, 95% 200 mL
Hydrochloric acid, conc. 2 mL
In an oversized flask heat the water and add the three dyes. When dissolved, add the resorcin, dextrin and ferric chloride in the order given. Boil for 5 minutes, then filter while hot. Place the precipitate and filter paper back into the original flask, add the 95% ethanol and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Cool and filter. Restore the volume to 200 mL with 95% ethanol, then add 2 mL of concentrated hydrochloric acid.

Tissue sample
5µ paraffin sections of neutral buffered formalin fixed tissue are suitable. Other fixatives are likely to be satisfactory.


  1. Bring sections to water via xylene and ethanol.
  2. Do a Mallory bleach with 0.25% potassium permanganate for ten minutes.
  3. Rinse with 95% ethanol.
  4. Place into Miller's solution up to three hours.
  5. Wash with 95% ethanol to remove excess solution.
  6. Wash in water.
  7. Counterstain with iron hematoxylin and van Gieson.
  8. Dehydrate with ethanol, clear with xylene and mount with a resinous medium.

Expected results


  1. Three hours is recommended, although staining may be adequate after 90 minutes.
  2. Dilute with an equal quantity of 95% ethanol for overnight staining.
  3. The staining solution is stable for years.


Miller, P.J., (1971)
Journal of Medical Laboratory Technology, V. 28

Ellis, R.,
Miller's Elastic Staining Protocol
IHC World




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