Vital, supravital and intravital staining are three different types of staining techniques. However, vital and supravital terms are often used interchangeably.
Let’s look at some of the major differences in staining between the three and why these terms shouldn’t be used interchangeably.
1. VITAL STAINING
1.Contrary to the name, vital stains are taken up by dead cells and not by living cells.
2. Demonstration of nuclear staining using a vital stain signifies cells death, because living cells are impermeable to the stain.
3. Example: Tryptan blue and propiodine iodine
VITAL STAINS ATE TOO BULKY OR TOO CHARGED THEY CANNOT ENTER LIVE CELLS- Hence only stain dead cells.
2. SUPRAVITAL STAINS
1. Supravital staining is a method of staining used in microscopy to examine living cells that have been removed from an organism.
2. Those that enter and stain living cells are called supravital stains
3. Examples New Methylene Blue and Brilliant Cresyl Blue for reticulocyte staining.
3. INTRAVITAL STAIN
1. Intravital staining of living cells is done by injecting the dye into any part of the animal body (either intravenous, intraperitoneal or subcutaneous), producing specific coloration of certain cells, particularly those of the reticulo-endothelial system.
2. Common dyes used are lithium, carmine and India ink.
There you go!! Hope the confusion is cleared.
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