Preservation of tracheal mucus by nonaqueous fixative

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Title Preservation of tracheal mucus by nonaqueous fixative
Author(s) David E. Sims, J. A. Westfall, A. L. Kiorpes, M. M. Horne
Journal Biotechnic & Histochemistry: Official Publication of the Biological Stain Commission
Date 1991
Volume 66
Issue 4
Start page 173
End page 180
Abstract Two nonaqueous fixatives, composed of fluorocarbon solvents with dissolved osmium tetroxide, were used to determine the feasibility of preserving the mucous coat in bovine and rat trachea for light and electron microscopy. Aqueous fixatives, while providing excellent cytological preservation, wash away the mucous lining, precluding ultrastructural analysis. Inclusion of ruthenium red or alcian blue within aqueous fixative improved retention of mucus, but provided incomplete, patchy results. Fixation with nonaqueous fluorocarbon solvent and dissolved osmium tetroxide preserved a continuous mucous epiphase layer above a clear hypophase layer. Subcomponents of the mucus included an electron dense surface layer, interrupted patches of mucus above the surface layer and electron dense membrane-like material within the mucus. This method of fixation will preserve mucus for light, scanning and transmission electron microscopy, using either intratracheal or immersion methods of fixation. The latter would enable use of materials from large animal models, autopsy or an abattoir.

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