Giemsa stain

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Giemsa staining of a blood smear with Babesia

The Giemsa stain is a modified Romanowsky stain for methanol-fixed bone marrow and blood smears and cytological material ( e.g. urine sediment , sputum ), which is used to differentiate between different cell types . It was introduced by the Hamburg chemist Gustav Giemsa in 1904 and named after him.

The Giemsa solution consists of a mixture of the dyes azure A eosinate , azure B eosinate , methylene blue eosinate and methylene blue chloride in methanol with glycerine as a stabilizer. It is therefore also known as azure eosin methylene blue solution.

The strength of the color depends on the exact composition of the Giemsa solution. Cell nuclei appear purple in colored smears due to the complex formation of the dyes with the DNA . The cytoplasm is usually shown bluish. Parasite or protozoan nuclei also appear bright red. However, the staining result can show significant differences. It is influenced, among other things, by the pH of the solution and the buffer solution , the buffer substances, the staining time and the type of fixation .


Chromosomes are colored uniformly by a Giemsa solution. If the chromosomes have previously been treated with trypsin, areas of the chromosomes that are colored differently ( chromosome bands ) appear.

Band pattern

The chromosome areas show different coloring behavior, as certain areas do not accept the dye or accept it less well if they have previously been treated with trypsin.

  • G bands: colored
  • R bands: not colored, lower shape → T bands: are located on telomeres
  • C bands: centromere region

Individual evidence

  1. Gustav Giemsa: A simplification and perfecting of my methylene blue-eosin staining method to achieve the Romanowsky-Nocht'schen chromatin staining. In: Centralblatt für Bakteriologie I, Department 32 (1904), pp. 307-313.

Web links

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This text is based in whole or in part on the entry Giemsa staining in Flexikon , a wiki from DocCheck . The takeover took place on July 21, 2004 under the then valid GNU license for free documentation .