Histological Technique: A Guide for Use in a Laboratory Course in Histology

Histological Technique: A Guide for Use in a Laboratory Course in Histology

Histological Technique: A Guide for Use in a Laboratory Course in Histology

Histological Technique: A Guide for Use in a Laboratory Course in Histology

Excerpt

Very few structures of the animal organism can be adequately examined microscopically without being first subjected to a preparatory treatment involving in many cases the employment of complicated methods. Save in the case of the body fluids and certain membranes, animal tissues are bulky, more or less opaque, and therefore unsuited for examination under the microscope, which requires surface or thin layers of substance. Examination is made possible in such cases in one of two ways: the elements composing the structure may be separated from each other, or thin slices may be prepared.

The above, however, presents but the grosser aspect of the necessity of preparation of animal tissues for examination with the microscope. The histological analysis of bodily structure makes further demands on the refinement of methods. Treatment with chemicals and stains (fixation and staining) has for its purpose not only the preservation and delineation of structure, but also its identification by means of more or less definite chemical (physical) reactions. The goal, from this side of histological technique, is an analysis from the chemico-physical as well as the morphological aspect and the interpretation of morphology in terms of physiology. Increase in our knowledge of the finer structure of the body in the past has been, as advance in the future will be, accompanied by and dependent on the application of a more exact technique along these lines; while for those who aim to do practical work in histology and pathology a mastery of the more important methods is indispensable.

Furthermore, in working with chemically altered structure, there is always the danger of losing sight of the conditions existent in the living protoplasm. It is well, therefore, in addition, to study structure in the living or fresh state, as little altered from the natural as may be. It is also very desirable to acquire skill in the application of simple methods which require neither expensive apparatus nor expenditure of time, -- methods which, while they may not advance knowledge, serve often to meet the needs of a preliminary examination or rapid clinical diagnosis.

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