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Basophilic and Acidophilic Staining

Synthetic dyes/stains are generally created so that they are one of the following stain types:

Basic - contains basic groups that have an affinity for acidic tissue elements.

Acidic - contains acidic groups that have an affinity for basic tissue elements.

Basic stains are used to stain nuclei and other basophilic (base-loving) cellular structures in tissues. Acidic stains are used to stain cytoplasm and other acidophilic (acid-loving) cellular structures in tissues. Many biological staining procedures rely on acid-base chemistry.