Chemical structures and staining mechanisms of Weigert's resorcin-fuchsin and related elastic fiber stains

Stain Technol. 1988 Mar;63(2):101-11. doi: 10.3109/10520298809107169.


Chemical properties of Weigert's resorcin-fuchsin, orcinol-new fuchsin, Sheridan's crystal violet and their resorcinol-free analogues were investigated using reverse-phase and gel filtration chromatography, electrophoresis, and visible light spectroscopy. Their staining properties were also studied. It was concluded that 1) the staining components of Weigert's resorcin-fuchsin, orcinol-new fuchsin and their resorcinol-free analogues are all indamine oligomers, 2) resorcinol is required for the production of Sheridan's crystal violet, the staining components of which consist of crystal violet substituted by varying numbers of resorcinyl substituents, 3) the staining components of all preparations are cationic (i.e., basic) dyes, 4) iron is present in staining solutions as the tetrachloroferrate anion (FeCl4-) and not as Fe or as a dye-chelate, and 5) since even the smallest Weigert's resorcin-fuchsin, orcinol-new fuchsin or Sheridan's crystal violet component has a conjugated bond number of 32, the observed staining of elastic fibers is only as expected.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry
  • Elastic Tissue / anatomy & histology*
  • Gentian Violet
  • Rats
  • Resorcinols*
  • Rosaniline Dyes*
  • Staining and Labeling / methods*


  • Resorcinols
  • Rosaniline Dyes
  • new fuchsin
  • orcinol
  • Gentian Violet
  • resorcinol