Cytological Technique: The Principles Underlying Routine Methods

By John R. Baker | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
MICROTOMY

THERE are so many different kinds of microtomes and the details of their adjustments are so diverse, that it is thought best to let the reader study carefully for himself the particular instruments that are available to him. To describe all the different kinds of microtome in adequate detail would take up an undue amount of space, while if only a few were described, the descriptions would only be useful to a few readers. This chapter is mostly concerned with the embedding of tissues in paraffin and celloidin, and with the attachment of sections to microscopical glass slides.


FROZEN SECTION TECHNIQUE

The freezing of tissues so as to harden them and make it possible to out thin sections was introduced by that remarkable and much-overlooked French genius, F. V. Raspail, who also invented microincineration, tested the reaction of living cytoplasm by the use of an indicator, and was the founder of the science of histochemistry (see Baker, 1943). The invention of frozen section technique has unfortunately always been referred to Stilling, who rediscovered it in 1842 when a nerve-cord in his possession was accidentally frozen on a cold night. Seventeen years previously Raspail ( 1825) had announced that one of the four 'resolutions' on which his work was founded was 'To employ freezing mixtures to prevent the tissues from being disfigured or squashed by the microscopic scalpel.'

When cells adhere together compactly, as in vertebrate liver, sections may very conveniently be made by the freezing microtome. The tissue that has been fixed and washed in water is ready for immediate sectioning without any preparation, though it is a

-104-

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Cytological Technique: The Principles Underlying Routine Methods
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface to the Second Edition v
  • Preface vi
  • Contents vii
  • Chapter I - Introduction 1
  • Chapter III - Simple Fixatives 21
  • Chapter IV - Fixing Mixtures 42
  • Chapter V - Microtomy 104
  • Conclusion 171
  • Chapter VIII - Methods for Chromosomes, Mitochondria and the Golgi Element 172
  • List of References 198
  • Index 205
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