PMID: 2417278Jan 1, 1985

Light microscopic histochemistry on plastic sections

Progress in Histochemistry and Cytochemistry
J A Litwin

Abstract

As compared with conventional paraffin, celloidin, and frozen sections, semithin plastic sections offer a superior quality of the light microscopic image in terms of better resolution, absence of distortion and shrinkage artifacts, and suitability for calcified tissues. Application of histochemical methods to such sections often encounters, however, serious difficulties resulting from a considerably reduced reactivity of plastic-embedded biological material. Factors involved include a poor penetration of reagents into plastic embedding media due to a steric or hydrophobic hindrance, as well as a blockade of the reactive chemical groups in the sample due to interactions with fixatives and plastics. Embedding in polar (hydrophilic) plastics, such as glycol methacrylate, permits carrying out a large number of histochemical reactions, including the demonstration of enzymatic activities, directly on sections, but is less suitable for combined light/electron microscopic studies because of an imperfect ultrastructural preservation of tissues. Embedding in nonpolar epoxy resins, particularly if combined with a double aldehyde-osmium fixation, results in a high quality ultrastructure but almost fully inhibits the histochemical reactivit...Continue Reading

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