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J Vis Exp. 2017 Jul 7;(125). doi: 10.3791/56071.

High-resolution Episcopic Microscopy (HREM) - Simple and Robust Protocols for Processing and Visualizing Organic Materials.

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Division of Anatomy, Center for Anatomy and Cell Biology & MIC, Medical University of Vienna.
Division of Anatomy, Center for Anatomy and Cell Biology & MIC, Medical University of Vienna;


We provide simple protocols for generating digital volume data with the high-resolution episcopic microscopy (HREM) method. HREM is capable of imaging organic materials with volumes up to 5 x 5 x 7 mm3 in typical numeric resolutions between 1 x 1 x 1 and 5 x 5 x 5 ┬Ám3. Specimens are embedded in methacrylate resin and sectioned on a microtome. After each section an image of the block surface is captured with a digital video camera that sits on the phototube connected to the compound microscope head. The optical axis passes through a green fluorescent protein (GFP) filter cube and is aligned with a position, at which the bock holder arm comes to rest after each section. In this way, a series of inherently aligned digital images, displaying subsequent block surfaces are produced. Loading such an image series in three-dimensional (3D) visualization software facilitates the immediate conversion to digital volume data, which permit virtual sectioning in various orthogonal and oblique planes and the creation of volume and surface rendered computer models. We present three simple, tissue specific protocols for processing various groups of organic specimens, including mouse, chick, quail, frog and zebra fish embryos, human biopsy material, uncoated paper and skin replacement material.

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