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Toluidine Blue Staining - Chemistry

This staining procedure relies on acid-base chemistry in the staining of mast cells. These cells contain granules composed of heparin and histamine. These granules are metachromatic and will stain various colors with toluidine blue, due to the pH, dye concentration, and temperature of the basic dye. Blue or purple dyes will appear red in color while red dyes will appear yellow in color.