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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course The Histology of Dermatological Specimens - Part 2. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Melanin pigment (black) in skin section

Polarized amyloid deposits

Special Stains for Skin: Melanin and Amyloid

Special stain for melanin
Fontana-Masson is a silver stain that demonstrates melanin and is used to evaluate vitiligo and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
  • Fontanta-Masson stain for melanin: Demonstrates melanin pigment by staining it black.

Special stain for amyloid
Congo red is a stain for the detection of protein deposits caused by a disease process called amyloidosis, which can affect the skin, tongue, heart, and muscles. The stain is often visualized using a polarized microscope in which the amyloid is exhibited by green birefringence.
  • Congo red stain for amyloid: Demonstrates amyloid deposits by staining it reddish pink, which can be visualized more clearly as an apple-green color with a polarized microscope.