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Cresyl Violet Stain for Nissl Bodies

Cresyl Violet Stain

for Nissl Bodies



Staining Solution

Cresyl violet1g
Distilled water100mL

Differentiator – Option 1

Ethanol, 95%100mL
Cajeput oila few drops

Differentiator – Option 2

Ethanol, 95%100mL
Acetic acid, glacial5 drops

Tissue Sample

5µ paraffin sections of neutral buffered formalin fixed tissue are suitable. Other fixatives, particularly if ethanolic, are likely to be satisfactory.


  1. Bring sections to water via xylene and ethanol.
  2. Place into the staining solution for 15-30 minutes.
  3. Rinse with water, dehydrate with absolute ethanol and clear with xylene.
  4. Leave in xylene for one hour.
  5. Rinse well with absolute ethanol.
  6. Bring one slide at a time to 95% ethanol.
  7. Differentiate in either cajeput ethanol or acetic ethanol, controlling microscopically.
  8. Rinse well with 95% ethanol to stop differentiation.
  9. Dehydrate with absolute ethanol.
  10. Clear with xylene
  11. Coverslip using a resinous medium.

Expected Results

  • Nissl bodies  –  blue-violet
  • Nuclei  –  blue violet


  • The first dehydration and clearing of the stained section (steps 3-4) improves the sharpness of diffentiation and is recommended.
  • Differentiation, as in steps 5-10, may be repeated if necessary.

Safety Note

Prior to handling any chemical, consult the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for proper handling and safety precautions.


  1. Drury, R A, and Wallington, E A, (1967).
    Carleton’s histological technique., Ed. 5., pp. 379.
    Oxford University Press, London, England.
  2. Bench Manual