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Am J Pathol. 1985 Aug;120(2):230-43.

Microwave energy fixation for electron microscopy.


We have demonstrated that microwave energy (MW) can be used in conjunction with chemical cross-linking agents in order to rapidly fix cell suspensions and tissue blocks for electron microscopy in 7-9 seconds. The optimal MW fixation method involved immersing tissues up to 1 cu cm in dilute aldehyde fixation and immediately irradiating the specimens in a conventional microwave oven for 9 seconds to 50 C. Ultrastructural preservation of samples irradiated by MW energy was comparable to that of the control samples immersed in aldehyde fixative for 2 hours at 25 C. Stereologic analysis showed that tissue blocks fixed by the MW fixation method did not cause organelles such as liver mitochondria and salivary gland granules to shrink or to swell. Potential applications for this new fixation technology include the investigation of rapid intracellular processes (eg, vesicular transport) and preservation of proteins that are difficult to demonstrate with routine fixation methods (eg, antigens and enzymes).

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