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Gomori Trichrome

Last updated on Saturday, September 27 2008 by jdmiles

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From an aesthetic point of view, the Gomori trichrome is my favorite muscle stain.  It also extremely helpful, and yields an abundance of the information. 

A trichrome stain is a stain that highlights different chemical features in three different colors.  There are many trichrome techniques (e.g., Masson trichrome, etc.), but the one discussed here is the Gomori trichrome.  In neuropathology, you are most likely to see it in the context of muscle biopsies.

When the Gomori trichrome method is used on frozen muscle,  proteinacious structures such as muscle fibers and collagen fibers show up as green, nuclei show up as purple, and lipophillic, membranous structures such as mitochondria, T-tubules and sarcoplasmic bodies show up in red.

It is a tinctorial stain, not an immune or histochemical stain.  This means it is not specific or sensitive for any particular enzyme activity or epitope.  However, it also means it is more versatile, and will demonstrate a variety of structures.  

Because of the color contrast it provides, it allows the visualization of structures you might not be able to see on other stains, such as H&E, COX, or ATPase.  In looking at skeletal muscle, it can help demonstrate the presence or absence of stuff like hyaline inclusions, endomysial fibrosis, sarcoplasmic bodies, ragged red fibers, nemaline rods, and rimmed vacuoles.

Some examples

Gomori trichrome illustrating nemaline rod myopathy: 

 

Gomori trichrome illustrating inclusion body myositis: 

 

 

Gomori trichrome, illustrating tubular aggregates: 

 

 

Gomori trichrome, illustrating hyaline inclusions: 

 

 

 

Gomori trichrome, illustrating a ragged red fiber: 

 

 

References:

Prayson, R.A., and Goldblum, J.R. (Eds.) (2005). Neuropathology. Elsevier Churchill Livingstone, Philadelphia. (ISBN:0443066582)  Page 540.