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

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Verhoeff-Van Gieson (VVG) Staining - Chemistry

The Verhoeff-Van Gieson (VVG) staining method relies on ferric chloride and iodine to act as a mordant that links hematoxylin dye molecules to tissue components and an oxidizer that converts hematoxylin to hematein. Elastic fibers have the strongest affinity for the hematoxylin-ferric chloride iodine solution which is used to overstain the entire tissue section. Therefore, the elastic fibers retain the dye, even after a diluted solution of ferric chloride is used to break the tissue-mordant-dye complex in the other tissue elements. The result is a positive staining reaction that highlights and differentiates elastic fibers from other tissue elements.