Histologic demonstration of glycosaminoglycans in inner ear fluids

Karen S. Pawlowski, Charles G. Wright, William L. Meyerhoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Hyaluronic acid is a glycosaminoglycan (GAG) which has been demonstrated by biochemical and histochemical methods to be present in inner ear fluids and tissues. However, consistent labeling of hyaluronic acid or other GAGs in inner ear fluid compartments in histologic sections has not been previously reported. Staining and characterization of GAGs in the normal inner ear fluids of humans and guinea pigs are described in this report. It was initially observed that alcian blue produces dense staining of the endolymphatic and perilymphatic fluid compartments in celloidin embedded material. Results obtained with alcian blue were subsequently compared to staining obtained with hematoxylin/eosin and periodic acid/Schiff base. Enzyme digestion was also performed with testicular hyaluronidase (bovine and ovine), streptomyces hyaluronidase, chondroitase ABC, and α-amylase. Results of the differential staining and enzyme digestion studies suggest that the substances in inner ear fluids that stain with alcian blue are a combination of chondroitin sulfate-4, -5 and/or -6 and hyaluronic acid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)505-510
Number of pages6
JournalActa Oto-Laryngologica
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 8 1998


  • Alcian blue
  • Celloidin
  • Chondroitin sulfate
  • Endolymph
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Perilymph

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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