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    An accurate microscopical analysis of blood smears requires a reproducible and convenient method of staining. Solution-based staining procedures can be cumbersome. Especially in low- and middle-income countries, the lack of skilled technicians and adequate laboratory facilities, as well as insufficient water and reagent quality, often become confounding factors. To overcome these obstacles, we developed a new cell staining method based on sequential stamping of agarose gel patches that contain eosin, methylene blue/oxidized methylene blue, Azure B, and buffer, respectively. Our method, termed "hydrogel staining", provides a simple, reproducible, solution-free, and inexpensive approach to stain blood cells. We have optimized incubation times to achieve the optimal transfer of dyes to fixed blood cells on a glass slide, with outcomes comparable to conventional solution-based methods for white blood cells and malaria-infected red blood cells. This hydrogel staining method does not require special skills to produce excellent quality stained blood film slides. The new method could enhance the accuracy of microscopical examination of blood smears, especially in resource-limited settings.


    Jae-Hyeok Choi, Lip Ket Chin, Bo Mee Woo, Younghoon Song, Min Jeong Seol, Yoontaik Hong, Ai-Qun Liu, Seongsoo Jang, Hidde Ploegh, Hyungsoon Im, Dongyoung Lee. Hydrogel-Based Stamping Technology for Solution-Free Blood Cell Staining. ACS applied materials & interfaces. 2021 May 19;13(19):22124-22130

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    PMID: 33870697

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