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Histology Services

Overview of Services

About us:

The Histology Core is a core facility of the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health and part of the Bone and Body Composition Core of the Indiana Clinical Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI). The Histology Core provides histological services for basic science (non-clinical) research. Both mineralized (plastic embedded) and soft tissue (paraffin embedded) specimens can be prepared by the facility.


  • Plastic (methyl methacrylate) Embedding and Sectioning Service:
    • This research facility offers processing of specimens through plastic (methyl methacrylate; MMA) embedding as well as thick sectioning of cortical bone, thin sectioning of trabecular (cancellous) bone, and staining of plastic sections.
    • The facility provides cover-slipped unstained sections for analysis of fluorochromes (dynamic histomorphometry). Specialized stains (for static histomorphometry) are available. Goldner’s Trichrome (GT; osteoid, osteoblasts and osteoclasts), Hematoxylin and eosin (HE; routine assessment) and Toluidine Blue (TB; cement lines and cartilage) are available for both thick and thin sections. Tartrate-Resistant Acid Phosphatase (TRAP; osteoclasts) and Von Kossa / MacNeal (VKM; osteoid, osteoblasts and osteoclasts) are available for thin sections only.
  • Paraffin Embedding and Sectioning Service:
    • The Histology Core offers de-mineralization of mineralized tissue (if necessary), processing of specimens through paraffin embedding, thin sectioning of paraffin-embedded tissue, and staining of paraffin sections.
    • For routine assessment, slides are stained with hematoxylin and eosin (HE; Harris hematoxylin, regressive method). Specialized stains are available, including Acidified Toluidine Blue (AcTB; for mast cells); Fast Green – Safranin O (FG/SO; for cartilage); Gomori’s Aldehyde Fuchsin, Wenk Modification (GAF; for pancreatic β cells, elastin, mast cells); Jones’ Periodic Acid-Silver Methenamine, AFIP Modification (JPA-ArM; for kidney glomerular capillary basement membrane); Masson’s Trichrome (MT; for collagen); Oil Red O (ORO; for lipids); Periodic Acid Schiff Procedure (PAS; for carbohydrates); Perls Iron Stain (PI); Tartrate-Resistant Acid Phosphatase (TRAP; for osteoclasts); Verhoeff-Van Giesen (VVG; for elastin); and Von Kossa Method for Mineral (VK).
  • Cryosectioning Service:
    • The Histology Service Core offers frozen tissue sections. Slides can be stained for standard and specialized stains or for immunohistochemistry. Samples for cryosectioning should be frozen by the investigator and submitted for sectioning by the core. Please contact Drew Brown to schedule the delivery of the tissues.


  • Materials for processing can be dropped off on the bench opposite the lab door (MS-5045G). All submissions require a completed work order form, which the researcher should provide when dropping off samples.


Lilian Plotkin, PhD Drew Brown
Director Supervisor


Location and hours of operation

Hours Location

Monday - Friday

8:00 am - 5:00 pm

MS 5045G

635 Barnhill Drive

Indianapolis, IN 46202

Links and Resources

  1. Histology Services


  • Confidentiality:
    • There is no expressed confidentiality assumed by the core or the core operator for any core instrument. However, if user confidentiality is desired, users must provide a written request to the core director at least one week prior to equipment usage.
  • Publication and Authorship Expectations:
    • The core does not require authorship for core usage. However, if core personnel have made a significant contribution to the experimental design or analysis of the results or have participated in preparing the results for publication, they may be included in authorship with their approval and agreement. In all cases, the core requests the following statement be placed in an acknowledgements section of any published work that utilized core facilities: “This work was supported by the Histology Core of the Indiana Center for Musculoskeletal Health at IU School of Medicine and the Indiana Clinical Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI).
  • Conflict Resolution:
    • All conflicts, including those related to scheduling, technical issues, authorship, quality and authorship, are to be expressed in writing to the core director.
  • Instrument Training:
    • All users seeking unassisted utilization of core equipment are required to be trained by the core director before they gain access to any core instrument. This training session will be charged to the user using the assisted rate fee for the instrument. All unique users must be trained, regardless of whether other members of a lab have already been trained. Training must be repeated if six months have elapsed between uses of an instrument.
  • Budgeting:
    • All principal investigators seeking to use core services are strongly encouraged to include the costs of core instrument usage in any funding proposal. Sub-contracts for assisted services may be sought to cover expenses, particularly for in-depth or prolonged assisted core instrument needs.


Name Role Phone Email Location
Drew Brown