Brain Embedding Medium

GLENN HOLM karuzis at wccf.mit.edu
Sat Nov 16 20:46:00 EST 1991


Anyone out there have suggestions for the ideal embedding medium to surround
small, fragile brain specimens prior to cutting on vibratome or freezing
microtome?  I guess the goal is to find something of the hardness and con-
sistency of perfused (4% paraformaldehyde) brain tissue that can be cast as
a block and then sectioned (around 30 microns) to produce easy to handle
free floating sections.  Something on the order of liquid brain.

We've tried albumin/gelatin (messy, slow to cure with formaldehyde, loss of
immunoreactivity), agar+ low melting point agarose (can't be frozen, cracking,
impossible to see or handle in vibratome bath), gelatin (ditto), tissue-tek
(sticky at R.T., too hard at sliding microtome temp), and don't really want
to get into paraffin (loss of immunoreactivity, impossible to keep serial 
order), celloidin, carbowax, etc... Cryostat sections require immuno on-slide,
freezers full of slides, etc. 

Is there a better way?

Glenn Holm
Brain + Cog. Sciences
M.I.T.



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