Histology: science meets art

003: Histology: science meets art

Created by Rahdi Anand (Histology)

Histology is the interface where Science meets Art. Histology is the study of tissues and their appearance. Cells and tissue are colourless, so dyes are used to visualise and to differentially identify the morphology under the microscope. The standard dyes routinely used for the staining of cells and tissue are haematoxylin and eosin (H&E). Haematoxylin is a basic dye that stains cell nuclei blue-black. Eosin is an acidic dye that stains the cytoplasm and all other structures pink or red. All other stains are called the Special Stains. These offer further evaluation of structures seen in the H&E staining and which require a more definite identification. The Special Stains are indeed special.

The canvas depicts an unstained section of skin on a microscope slide. The section has been stained with the Special Stain of Masson’s trichrome. The three colours are acid fuschin red, aniline blue and Weigert’s haematoxylin. The result is an explosion of colour in the stained tissue as the fuschin red stains the epithelium, smooth muscle and fat cells a ruby red colour, the aniline blue stains collagen a sky blue colour and Weigert’s haematoxylin stains the nuclei a rich ebony colour. When viewed under the light microscope, the structure and colours of the natural world marry together to create a masterpiece which provides a deep insight into the organisation and function of the living world.


003-Histology: science meets art