X-Message-Number: 10400
Date: Wed, 9 Sep 1998 00:35:23 -0700 (PDT)
From: Doug Skrecky <>
Subject: formalin versus substitutes

  Prento P.  Lyon H.
  Department of Pathology, Hvidovre Hospital, University of Copenhagen.
  Commercial formalin substitutes for histopathology.
  Biotechnic & Histochemistry.  72(5):273-82, 1997 Sep.
  We compared the performance of six commercial fixatives proposed to be
  formalin substitutes with the performance of buffered formalin, Clarke's
  ethanol-acetic acid, and ethanol, using rat liver, small intestine, and
  kidney. We investigated the rate of penetration, mode of
  fixation, extent of protein and structural immobilization,
  quality of histology and cellular structure following routine dehydration and
  paraffin embedding, and performance as a fixative for immunohistochemistry.
  Furthermore, we evaluated the effects of the various fixatives on
  ultrastructure. Only buffered formalin performed equally well on all
  tissues tested. While several of the commercial fixatives
  appeared to preserve liver tissue at 200x, the preservation
  of kidney, intestinal villi, and smooth muscle was unacceptable. Histological
  distortion, cell shrinkage and vacuolization were prominent when the
  substitutes or ethanol were used. In contrast, these artifacts were found
  occasionally and to a minor degree when buffered formalin or Clarke's
  fixative were used. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated a total loss of low
  molecular weight antigens for all fixatives except buffered formalin. The
  best immunostaining was obtained by combining formalin
  fixation with antigen retrieval. We conclude that none of
  the proposed commercial substitutes for buffered formalin are adequate for
  critical histology or histopathology.

Rate This Message: http://www.cryonet.org/cgi-bin/rate.cgi?msg=10400