The feasibility of using the Hale stain to identify cellular sialic acid-containing mucins by electron microscopy was investigated. Three kinds of mouse ascites tumor cells were fixed in neutral buffered formalin, exposed to fresh colloidal ferric oxide, treated with potassium ferrocyanide, imbedded in Selectron, and sectioned for electron microscopy. Additional staining with uranyl acetate and potassium permanganate was done after sectioning in order to increase contrast. Those cells known to be coated with sialomucin showed deposits of electron-opaque ferric ferrocyanide crystals in the areas where sialomucin concentrations were expected. When these cells were treated with neuraminidase beforehand, these deposits did not appear. It was concluded that, with the precautions and modifications described, the Hale stain can be successfully combined with electron microscopy to identify sialomucin.

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