Stain-Decolorize-Stain (SDS): a new technique for multiple staining

Histochem Cell Biol. 2014 Mar;141(3):251-62. doi: 10.1007/s00418-013-1177-7. Epub 2014 Jan 5.


Multiple staining of more than one gene/antigen on a single tissue section is an indispensable tool in cell and tissue research. However, most of the available multiple staining techniques have limitations, and there has been no technique to simultaneously visualize and distinguish tissue antigens, nucleotide sequences and other chemical compounds on the same slide. Here, we present a practical and economic multiple stain technique, with which multiple cellular components including mRNA (with in situ hybridization), antigen epitope (with immunohistochemistry) and chemical molecules (with histochemistry) can be stained on a single tissue section to study their relationship. In addition, this technique also offers the possibility to evaluate morphology with an H&E staining on the same sections. We used the placenta, pancreas, breast ductal carcinoma, colon adenocarcinoma, cerebellum, tonsil and heart tissue sections to evaluate the applicability of this new technique. The sensitivity and specificity of the technique have been tested, and an optimal protocol is recommended. Its applications in surgical pathology and research are discussed. This technique offers a novel tool to evaluate the relationship among multiple components at the same or adjacent locations to meet the needs of pathology diagnosis and research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens / analysis
  • Base Sequence / genetics
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • In Situ Hybridization / methods
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Staining and Labeling / methods*
  • Viscera / cytology*


  • Antigens