Histology Guide virtual histology laboratory

Chapter 1 - Introduction

The goal of this chapter is to learn how to look for items of interest in histological specimens using light microscopy. A variety of cells, tissues, and organs are provided as samples.

Partial list of characteristics to notice and observe:

  1. Size of cells
  2. Shape of cells
  3. Nuclear/cytoplasmic ratio
  4. Staining properties
    • Basophilic or acidophilic
    • Heterochromatin and euchromatin
  5. Special staining properties

Histological Stains

Biological material is inherently of low contrast and provides little to see in a standard bright field microscope unless treated with a histological stain. Hematoxylin and eosin are the most widely used dyes in histology and pathology. The following slides demonstrate the staining characteristics of these dyes alone, and more importantly, in combination.


Fig 001 Acidic/Basic Dyes


MHS 268-269-270 Pancreas

Cells and Tissues

The cell is the basic structural and functional unit of all living organisms. Cells vary widely in size and shape depending on their function. Microscopes are used to study cells because most cannot be seen with an unaided eye.

It is not necessary to learn the names of specific cells and tissues for this chapter, but rather learn to recognize variations in the size, shape, and staining properties of cells.


MH 001 Nuclear Morphology


MH 002 Cells and Tissues

Other Stains


MH 003 Toluidine Blue

(Nissl Substance / Metachromasia)


MH 009 Golgi Apparatus

(Golgi method)


MH 010 Mitochondria

(Iron hematoxylin)


MH 012 Nucleic Acids

(Feulgen reagent)


MH 128 Liver - Glycogen

(Periodic acid-Schiff reagent)

Purkinje Cells

Different stains used to visualize Purkinje cells in the cerebellum.


MH/MHS/RnD Cerebellum