Stains & molecular markers
Iron


Topic Completed: 1 June 2005

Minor changes: 3 September 2020

Copyright: 2003-2020, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

PubMed Search: Iron[title]

Nat Pernick, M.D.
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Cite this page: Pernick N. Iron. PathologyOutlines.com website. http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/stainsiron.html. Accessed September 30th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Also called hemosiderin (storage iron granules)
  • Perls method (Prussian blue stain): hydrochloric acid releases the protein bound to ferric iron, then potassium ferrocyanide binds with ferric iron to form ferric ferrocyanide, an insoluble blue compound (Wikipedia)
  • Hemosiderin may be present in areas of old hemorrhage or be deposited in tissues with iron overload
  • Hemosiderosis: stored iron does not interfere with organ function vs. hemochromatosis: iron overload associated with organ failure
Hale colloidal iron
  • Kidney tumors: stain must have pH between 1.5 and 2.0
  • Clear cell and papillary renal carcinoma have focal, coarse, drop-like staining
  • Note: hemosiderin in any tumors will also stain positive
Uses by pathologists
  • Hale colloidal iron is helpful in distinguishing chromophobe renal cell carcinoma (intensely positive in large percentage of cells with reticular staining) from oncocytoma (usually negative; if positive - fewer cells with less intensity and dustlike staining)
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Hemosiderin, liver, iron stain

SIDS

Hepatic blastoma, ferritin (fig A)

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