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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Technical Preparation of Bone Marrow Specimens for Histological Assessment. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Iron Stain on Spun Bone Marrow Aspirate Fat-Perivascular (F-PV) Layer

A smear can be prepared on the spun bone marrow aspirate fat-perivascular (F-PV) layer. This slide preparation is optimal for evaluating iron stores, as the PV bone marrow aspirate layer typically has small particles, allowing for evaluation and assessment of iron stores. Iron storage evaluation on the bone marrow core biopsy is not optimal, as the iron may chemically become soluble from the decalcification process.
It is important to not disrupt the fat cells of the F-PV slide used for iron store evaluation with the Prussian blue iron stain. For this reason, alcohol fixation is not recommended. To adequately fix the slides, pipette the F-PV and particle layers (shown in the image) onto a slide and crush with another slide. Dry and fix with formalin fumes for 10 minutes in a Coplin jar using a lint-free wipe soaked in formalin at the bottom. Use one fixed slide for the Prussian iron stain and the other slide can be discarded.