Pathology dictionary -

Hematoxylin and eosin (H&E)

When tissue samples are cut and placed on a slide for examination under the microscope, the tissue is so thin that it is almost invisible. In order for your pathologist to be able to see the tissue, it is stained with special dyes to give it colour.

Hematoxylin and eosin are the two stains routinely used on tissue samples so that they can be seen under the microscope.  Hematoxylin sticks to DNA which turns the nucleus blue or purple. Eosin sticks to proteins and other parts of the cells which turns them pink or red.


The combination of these two stains allows pathologists to distinguish between different types of cells and even different parts inside the same cell. Abnormal cells tend to look different than normal cells when stained with hematoxylin and eosin which makes this stain very powerful for everyday use in pathology.


You may see the abbreviation ‘H&E’ in your pathology report, referring to slides that have been stained with hematoxylin and eosin.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Copyright 2017

For more information about this site, contact us at

Disclaimer: The articles on MyPathologyReport are intended for general informational purposes only and they do not address individual circumstances. The articles on this site are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the MyPathologyReport site. The articles on are intended for use within Canada by residents of Canada only.

Droits d'auteur 2017
Pour plus d'informations sur ce site, contactez-nous à
Clause de non-responsabilité: Les articles sur MyPathologyReport ne sont destinés qu’à des fins d'information et ne tiennent pas compte des circonstances individuelles. Les articles sur ce site ne remplacent pas les avis médicaux professionnels, diagnostics ou traitements et ne doivent pas être pris en compte pour la prise de décisions concernant votre santé. Ne négligez jamais les conseils d'un professionnel de la santé à cause de quelque chose que vous avez lu sur le site de MyPathologyReport. Les articles sur sont destinés à être utilisés au Canada, par les résidents du Canada uniquement.