PMID: 59421Mar 1, 1976Paper

Science and art in preparing tissues embedded in plastic for light microscopy, with special reference to glycol methacrylate, glass knives and simple stains

Stain Technology
H S BennettJ H McNeil


Plastic embedding preserves tissue structure much more faithfully than does paraffin. Acrylic polymerization is innocuous to dye-binding groups in sections. The water solubility of glycol methacrylate monomer and the hydrophilic properties of the polymer allow for convenience in dehydration and for versatility in staining sections. Five years of experience with glycol methacrylate (GMA) embedding for light microscopy is summarized. Methods for purifying GMA monomer are cited. Procedures for fixing, dehydrating, embedding, polymerizing, sectioning and staining, using GMA, are explained. A method is provided for making glass knives long enough to cut large blocks. Simple, reliable, quick staining methods are outlined. When compared with paraffin, GMA offers opportunities for simpler, quicker procedures and yields sections of superior quality, greater information content, and less distortion.


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