Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary Human tissues, both biopsy and postmortem, and tissues from rodents were fixed by microwaves at various temperatures and compared against formaldehyde-fixed material. Conventional stains, including trichromes, worked well. Red cell were lysed, but white cells were fixed, thus permitting diagnoses of various inflammatory states. Malignant cells were equally well-preserved by the two methods. Histochemical investigations of mucosubstances, lipids and various hydrolases showed no significant difference between the two techniques. Some neurological stains, however, were not as good following microwave treatment. Immunocytochemical localization of IgA, IgM and IgG showed no significant difference after microwave fixation compared to that in tissues fixed with formaldehyde. Microwave fixation did not lead to a greater tissue shrinkage than that obtained with formaldehyde fixation. Both were significantly less than that following treatment with phosphate-buffered saline alone. Electron microscopy gave results which were interpretable, but with damage resembling early postmortem change. Microwave fixation is complete in approximately 1–2 min. The mechanism of fixation appears to be due to denaturation associated with disulphide bond formation and a decrease in solubility of proteins.
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