Silverman-Movat Pentachrome
for Elastic, Mucin & Collagen


Stock solution A
Orcein 1 g
Hydrochloric acid, conc. 1 mL
Ethanol, 70% 500 mL
Stock solution B
Hematoxylin 8 g
Ethanol, absolute 160 mL
Stock solution C
Ferric chloride 9.6 g
Distilled water 90 mL
Stock solution D
Iodine 1 g
Potassium iodide 2 g
Distilled water 97 mL
Working elastic solution
Stock solution A 25 mL
Stock solution B 8 mL
Stock solution C 5 mL
Stock solution D 5 mL
Stock C 10 mL
Distilled water 40 mL
Alcian blue
Alcian blue 1 g
Acetic acid, glacial 1 mL
Distilled water 99 mL
Ammoniated ethanol
Strong ammonia 5 mL
Ethanol, 95% 95 mL
Plasma stain
Woodstain scarlet 1% aqu. 4 mL
Acid fuchsin 1% aqu. 1 mL
Acetic acid, 0.5% 95 mL
Phosphotungstic acid 5 g
Distilled water 100 mL
Fibre stain
Spanish saffron 6 g
Ethanol, absolute 96 mL
Incubate together in a sealed container
at 56°C for 48 hours. Cool.

Tissue sample
Paraffin sections at 4-6µ are suitable. Bouin's fixation is preferred. 10% neutral buffered formalin is satisfactory. If formalin is used, refix sections with Bouin's fluid for one hour at 56°C, then wash in running tap water to remove the yellow colour.


  1. Bring sections to water via xylene and ethanol.
  2. Stain in alcian blue for 20 min.
  3. Rinse in distilled water.
  4. Place in ammoniated ethanol for 10 min at 56°C.
  5. Wash in running tap water for 2 min.
  6. Rinse in distilled water.
  7. Stain in working elastic solution for 2 hours.
  8. Wash in running water until collagen is clear and elastic prominent.
  9. Rinse in distilled water.
  10. Place in the plasma stain for 3 minutes.
  11. Place in 0.5% aqueous acetic acid for 30 seconds.
  12. Differentiate in the polyacid until collagen is clear and ground substance is blue.
  13. Rinse in 0.5% aqueous acetic acid for 30 seconds.
  14. Place in three changes of absolute ethanol for 1 minute each.
  15. Place in the fibre stain for 8 minutes.
  16. Dehydrate quickly in absolute ethanol, 2 changes.
  17. Clear in xylene, three changes.
  18. Coverslip with a resinous mounting medium.

Expected results


  1. The working elastic solution should be used only once, then discarded.
  2. If the elastic fibres are not clearly delineated at step 8 and the background is not clean, place in the differentiator for a few minutes, then wash well in tap water until they are sharp.
  3. Differentiation with the polyacid at step 12 takes from 3-10 minutes.
  4. The fibre stain (alcoholic saffron) may be used repeatedly until staining intensity decreases. It is important that this solution not be contaminated with water. Place some Drierite into it to keep it anhydrous.


Silverman, J., (1972)
Histologic v 2, N° 2.




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