[Histonet] Undecalcified sample in paraffin and plastic media

Jack Ratliff ratliffjack <@t> hotmail.com
Mon Sep 30 07:49:29 CDT 2013


You will definitely want to consider using plastic media like methyl methacrylate (MMA). It will cause less shrinkage in the tissue during polymerization, you can still cut at a range of 4-12 microns using a rotary microtome and tungsten-carbide knife, any mineralization present in the tissue will infiltrate and polymerize well allowing for enhanced stabilization of tissue and section morphology throughout microtomy, and you can even deplastify the sections with certain MMA formulations to increase staining options.

Please let me know if you do wish to continue with plastic media as I have helped many labs to get started with and/or to refine their current capabilities with MMA. Additionally, I would like to point out that I Chair the Hard Tissue Committee (HTC) for the National Society for Histotechnology (NSH). Membership with the NSH has several benefits that could also help you to move forward with your project at your own pace. For example, as a member you will have access to all archived publications of the Journal of Histotechnology (JOH). With this access to the JOH via Manny Publishing, the HTC has created a reference document that collates all relevant publications (1970's to present) that pertain to bone, biomaterials, medical device implants, resin histology, etc., so that one can easily locate and obtain publication information relevant to their niche specific needs. Rest assured that I will be happy to help you either way you choose to move forward.

Best Regards,


On Sep 23, 2013, at 9:19 PM, Rui TAHARA <ruio7 <@t> hotmail.com> wrote:

> I have undecalcified paraffin embed samples
> that were sectioned at 10 micron that I want to stain with Von kossa. Because
> samples are embryonic quail heads (ossification starts to happen) and still
> soft enough to section with standard rotary microtome with tungsten knife in paraffin.
> My intention is to 3D reconstruct anatomies
> based on histological sections. Because of this, I am wondering if I should actually
> use plastic media rather than paraffin to keep the section shape as consistent
> as possible. Does plastic embed material actually preserve the consistent shape
> among sections better than paraffin embed sample? No winkle etc..? Is there any
> other advantage that I actually should use the plastic media than paraffin for what
> I want to do? I know downside of plastic media is that in general plastic
> embedding process are lengthy and plastic embedding material are expensive than
> the paraffin ones, and are mainly use for bone to support the hard material for
> sectioning. 
> When I sectioned some ossified samples, beak
> start to fall off from section and the section show the lines from the possibly
> scratched knife. Is this indication of paraffin media that does not provide enough
> strength for sectioning? I thought it may possibly the poor infiltration. 
> In our lab nobody has processed the plastic
> embedding and sectioning (we have only standard microtome, no vaccum machine. Can
> I section plastic embed sample with the standard microtome at 10 micron?) so I would
> like to have any input before actually making a plastic embed sample. Any
> suggestions would be appreciated. 
> Biology Department 
> McGill University
> _______________________________________________
> Histonet mailing list
> Histonet <@t> lists.utsouthwestern.edu
> http://lists.utsouthwestern.edu/mailman/listinfo/histonet

More information about the Histonet mailing list