[Histonet] Zinc formalin as a fixative

Kemlo Rogerson kemlo.rogerson <@t> waht.swest.nhs.uk
Thu Mar 16 02:33:20 CST 2006

Don't leave tissue in zinc formalin too long it will go very hard. Some
recommend washing out the zinc before processing but that always confused me
as I assume you wash out (or reverse) the effects of formalin fixation
depending therefore more on the zinc. Haematoxylin staining is enhance
because I assume zinc acts as a mordant and binds it to nucleic acids; in my
experience it can result in a very 'strong' nuclear stain with some
'overstaining' of the cytoplasm.

I assume it is used because of its reduced toxity compared to lead, but I
assume it is still toxic to some degree; I thought it was implicated in
dementia but how would I know I used it too much in the past. Now where is
my slide rule?

Kemlo Rogerson
Pathology Manager
Ext  3311
DD   01934 647057
Mob 07749 754194

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-----Original Message-----
From: Foshey, Annette [mailto:AFoshey <@t> chw.org] 
Sent: Wednesday, March 15, 2006 11:25 PM
To: histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
Subject: [Histonet] Zinc formalin as a fixative

Our new medical director is requesting to use Zinc formalin.  I have not
used this fixative before and I need your help.  We have a small volume
and place everything on one processor for an overnight run.  Please give
me your insights.  We use VIP embedding medium for paraffin and use
graded alcohols (70, 80, 95, and 100) and Xylene on the processor.  

Thank you in advance for your information,

Annette Foshey, HT
Team Leader 
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin

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