New, special stain for histopathological diagnosis of cryptococcosis

K. J. Kwon-Chung, W. B. Hill, J. E. Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Masson-Fontana silver stain for melanin was employed for the differentiation of pathogenic fungal species in human or mouse tissues. The fungi studied were Candida albicans, Candida tropicalis, Candida glabrata (Torulopsis glabrata), Cryptococcus neoformans, Cryptococcus bacillisporus, Coccidioides immitis, Blastomyces dermatitides, Histoplasma capsulatum, Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, Sporothrix schenckii, Rhizopus rhizopodiformis, and Aspergillus fumigatus. The tissue sections stained with Masson-Fontana silver stain showed a dark brown to black color in the wall of cryptococci, whereas the walls of remaining fungal species were hyaline, except for those of S. schenckii. The yeastlike cells of S. schenckii showed faint brown pigment on the wall. Cultures of these fungi showed staining characteristics identical to those of the in vivo results. Cultures of four nonpathogenic Cryptococcus species, Cryptococcus uniguttulatus, Cryptococcus laurentii, Cryptococcus terreus, and Cryptococcus luteolus, were also tested for staining by the Masson-Fontana procedure. Of these, only C. laurentii stained positively, and the pigment on the cell wall was as intense as that of the cells of C. neoformans. These results indicate that the Masson-Fontana silver stain can be used as a specific stain in the histological diagnosis of cryptococcosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-387
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1981
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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