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Cytochrome Oxidase staining - Example of pathological findings

Last updated on Saturday, April 4 2009 by jdmiles

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Cytochrome Oxidase staining - Example of pathological findings
This is a cytochrome oxidase c stain (cox stain) of a skeletal muscle biopsy. Cytochrome C oxidase is a marker of mitochondrial activity. Type I muscle fibers have a higher capacity for oxidative metabolism than type II cells, which have a higher capacity for anaerobic metabolism. This means that the type I muscle cells will stain darker on cox, but both populations should show some uptake of the brown pigment. Normally, the 2 muscle groups represent the only 2 populations seen on cox staining. However, this muscle is affected by a mitochondrial myopathy, and shows a third population: occasional cox-negative fibers, which appear very pale, indicating almost no oxidative metabolism.