Giemsa stain

Wright Giemsa Stain Method for Cell Analysis

Wright Giemsa stain


The Wright Giemsa stain technique, derived from the Romanowsky stain, plays a pivotal role in cytology and histology laboratories. It facilitates the differentiation and visualization of diverse cell types by capitalizing on their unique affinities for specific stains. This article comprehensively explores the underlying principle, key constituents, procedural steps, result interpretation, and necessary precautions associated with the Wright-Giemsa staining technique.

Principle of Wright Giemsa Stain

The Wright Giemsa stain technique relies on the interaction between cells and two contrasting stains: Eosin (an acid stain) and Methylene Blue (an alkaline stain). This interaction is driven by both physical adsorption and chemical affinity, allowing the stain to permeate and persist within cells. Due to the distinct chemical composition of each cell and its components, they exhibit varying affinities for the acid and alkaline stains. Upon staining with Wright’s stain, cells manifest a spectrum of colors, facilitating their identification based on color, morphology, and other distinctive attributes.

Key Components

The Wright Giemsa stain kit comprises two primary solutions:

  • Wright-Giemsa Solution (Solution A): This solution contains the essential Wright dye and Giemsa dye, responsible for the characteristic staining patterns observed.
  • Phosphate Buffer (Solution B): With a pH of 6.8, this solution contains phosphate, serving to maintain optimal conditions during the staining process.


  • Apply approximately 0.5 to 0.8 ml of Solution A onto the smear, ensuring even coverage of the entire specimen. Allow this to stain for 1 minute.
  • Add Solution B, around 2 to 3 times the volume of Solution A, onto the stained area. Vigorously mix both solutions using a rubber pipette bulb. Allow the combined mixture to stain the specimen for 4 to 10 minutes, adjusting based on the type of specimen being processed.
  • Rinse the smear under running water to prevent sediment deposition. Once dry, proceed to microscopic examination.

Interpreting Results

  • Blood and Bone Marrow Smears: Red Blood Cells (RBCs) adopt a pink hue, White Blood Cells (WBCs) showcase distinct cytoplasmic granules and varied cell-specific colors, while nuclei exhibit a reddish-purple tint with discernible chromatin structure.
  • Vaginal Discharge (Gynecological Leucorrhea) Smears:
    • Trichomonas: Stained trichomonas exhibit diverse forms compared to live trichomonas. Most take on pyriform, round, or elliptical shapes, displaying bice or cerulean-stained cytoplasm. Nuclei are small and jujube-like, typically positioned to one side.
    • Candidiasis (Mold): Stained dark blue, revealing observable blastopores and slim, straight pseudo hyphae.
    • White Blood Cells: Resemble WBCs from blood smears, indicative of inflammation levels.
    • Other microorganisms like Leptotrichia, Gonococcus, and Gardnerella vaginalist demonstrate distinct staining characteristics.
  • Exfoliated Cells Smears: Nuclei showcase a purple hue, while nucleoli appear blue. Cytoplasmic basophilic degrees create a range of shades from blue.

Precautions of Wright Giemsa Stain

  • Staining duration varies based on specimen type, thickness, cell count, and room temperature. Adjust staining times accordingly.
  • Swift smearing is vital for bone marrow specimens to prevent clotting.
  • Ensure sufficient staining solution to prevent drying and uneven dye distribution.
  • In colder or humid conditions, incubate bone marrow smears at 37°C to prevent cell shrinkage.
  • Avoid extended use of Solution B post-opening to prevent sedimentation.
  • Exclusive handling and interpretation by qualified professionals.
  • Adhere to guidelines for instructions, hygiene, and disposal.
  • Dispose of waste as per hospital or environmental regulations.
  • Refer to packaging for production and expiration details.

In conclusion, the Wright Giemsa stain technique is an invaluable tool for distinguishing cell types in diverse specimens. Its principle, constituents, procedure, interpretation, and precautions collectively contribute to precise cellular analysis, aiding medical professionals in diagnostics and research.

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