[Histonet] formalin and shrinkage

Gudrun Lang gu.lang at gmx.at
Mon Feb 22 14:16:40 CST 2016

My question refers to the difference in dimensions of the native tissue and the fixed tissue. – so without any  influence of ethanol and xylol.


I have no access to the whole publication you mentioned. If I understand the summary correctly, 2,5% shrinkage was found after formalinfixation.


There is no actual problem to solve, just academic question. 




Von: Jay Lundgren [mailto:jaylundgren at gmail.com] 
Gesendet: Montag, 22. Februar 2016 20:31
An: gu.lang at gmx.at
Cc: histonet
Betreff: Re: [Histonet] formalin and shrinkage


I was taught at AFIP to expect shrinkage of 10%, in each dimension.  So I guess that's 30% shrinkage overall?  Shrinkage is partially caused by formalin crosslinking the proteins in fixation, and partially by dehydration.  Maybe a little shrinkage in xylene too?  From removal of fat in adipose tissues?  



Is your Pathologist really concerned about shrinkage, or about curling and distortion of small shave bxs?  Because a certain degree of shrinkage is an unavoidable artifact of tissue processing.


If it's the latter, I like to use 2 blue sponges.  I find they really help to keep things flat and oriented.  Some people don't like them because of carryover.  I just say change your processor reagents more often.




    Jay A. Lundgren, M.S., HTL (ASCP) 



On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 9:59 AM, Gudrun Lang via Histonet <histonet at lists.utsouthwestern.edu> wrote:


Today someone asked me about shrinkage caused by the fixation with
formaldehyde specially on skin-biopsies.  She spoke about shrinkage of 30%
percent. In my opinion shrinkage is mainly caused by the processing with
dehydration and defatting. Formaldehyde renders the tissue harder but not
strictly smaller.

What is the opinion of the community?


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