Rapidly excised and cryofixed rat tissue

Vanhecke, Dimitri; Graber, Werner; Studer, Daniel (2010). Rapidly excised and cryofixed rat tissue. Methods in cell biology, 96, pp. 513-527. San Diego, Calif.: Academic Press 10.1016/S0091-679X(10)96021-4

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All preparation efforts of biological samples in electron microscopy are focused to preserve structures as close as possible to the native state. To achieve this goal with tissues, it is of advantage to have a very short time between excision and fixation. The most common approach is chemical fixation: cross-linking of the tissue samples with aldehydes followed by postfixation with osmium tetroxide. Here, the fastest approach for tissue samples is perfusion. However, the diffusion of the fixation solution from blood vessels into the depth of the tissue is still slow and does not allow an overall instant fixation of a single cell. As a result, osmotic effects become evident (swelling or shrinkage of cell organelles). Another possibility is to take a tissue sample from the experimental animal. Excision of tissue can last quite some time, which results in even more pronounced autolytic induced osmotic effects. Furthermore, the animal does not survive the procedure in most cases. Alternatively, microbiopsies are an elegant technique to rapidly excise small quantities of tissue. Some tissues, such as liver and muscle, may be obtained using a non-lethal approach. To avoid the artifacts introduced by chemical fixation, high-pressure freezing of microbiopsies (brain, liver, kidney, and muscle) is a powerful alternative to chemical fixation. Here, we describe the microbiopsy method, and high-pressure freezing/freeze-substitution (HPF/FS) as a follow-up procedure. Cryosectioning of high-pressure frozen samples is optimally preserving the ultrastructure; however, it is not considered to be a routine approach yet.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Anatomy

UniBE Contributor:

Graber, Werner Adrian and Studer, Daniel Franz




Academic Press




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:09

Last Modified:

19 Jun 2017 15:00

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Web of Science ID:



https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/939 (FactScience: 201536)

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