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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Histology Special Stains: Nervous Tissue. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Oxidation and Reduction

Some biological staining procedures rely on the chemical processes of oxidation and reduction.
Oxidation - the chemical reaction resulting in the removal of electrons from a molecule

Reduction - the chemical reaction resulting in the addition of electrons to a molecule

Essentially, the oxidation-reduction reaction involves the transfer of electrons from one substance to another. Where staining techniques are concerned, oxidizers and reducers act on tissue so that dyes and/or reagents applied in subsequent procedural steps are able to bind with the desired tissue elements.