PURPOSE: This stain is useful in demonstrating atrophy of elastic tissue in cases of emphysema, and the thinning and loss of elastic fibers in arteriosclerosis, and other vascular diseases. With increasing age, changes such as splitting and fragmentation occur, these changes are most obvious in the skin which becomes wrinkled and rather ‘loose-fitting’.
Elastic fibers are important components of the skin and are responsible for skin elasticity. Genetic defects are well-known in numerous hereditary elastic tissue disorders and skin biopsies are often the first step in the evaluation of those disorders. Verhoeff-Van Gieson elastic staining is a simple method that is used for visualizing elastic fibers. With the development of modern immunohistochemical methods. method is often used to identify the characteristic arrangement of fibers in different types of tumors.
This stain is used widely for both diagnostic and research purposes. In diagnostic labs, VVG is used to identify the presence or absence of elastic fibers in tissues. For instance, pathologists may use it to demonstrate loss of elastic tissue in the lung in patients with emphysema, and thinning and loss of elastic fibers in blood vessels of patients with arteriosclerosis.
Similarly, researchers investigating any of these types of diseases may also routinely examine VVG-stained tissue sections to detect the presence or absence of elastic fibers in tissues of interest. Other researchers may simply use the stain simply to differentiate connective tissue fibers in tissues of interest.
of the common methods for highlighting the difference between collagen and other connective
Paraffin sections at 5µ are suitable.
Many fixatives, including formalin, are satisfactory.
Stains using acid dyes often benefit from picric acid or mercuric chloride fixation.