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Automating special stains using a commercial Autostainer

A commercial automatic stainer was successfully used to automate 2 versions of the hematoxylin and eosin stain as well as 10 special stains frequently performed in a histology laboratory.

The special stains included Van Gieson, diastase/periodic acid Schiff (PAS), PAS, alcian blue, alcian blue/PAS, Gomori 1-step trichrome, alcian yellow/toluidine blue, Schmorl, Perl prussian blue, and luxol fast blue.

The capabilities of the existing hardware and software of the Leica Autostainer XL were explored and some of the hardware was modified:
the staining rack adaptor was used to accommodate the staining racks used in this laboratory, and an insert was designed to fit in the autostainer's forced air oven so it could be used for staining purposes rather than as a forced-air slide dryer.

Limitations of the software were overcome by timely exit and re-entry at certain steps in some of the staining programs.

The modifications expanded the functions of the autostainer. As a result, multiprogram compatibility was obtained for a larger variety of special stains than were ever previously programmed on this automated slide stainer.
(The J Histotechnol 21:135, 1998)

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