Luchtel, D. L., J. C. Boykin, S. L. Bernard and R. W. Glenny. Histological methods to determine blood flow distribution with fluorescent microspheres. Biotech Histochem. 73:291-309, 1998.
We evaluated several histological methods and determined their advantages and disadvantages for histological studies of tissues and organs perfused with fluorescent microspheres. Microspheres retained their fluorescence in 7-10 microm serial sections with a change in the antimedium from toluene when samples were fixed in formalin and embedded in paraffin. Several antimedia allowed both wax infiltration of tissue and preservation of microsphere fluorescence. Histoclear II was the best substitute for toluene. When samples were fixed in formalin and embedded in glycol methacrylate, thinner (3-5 microm) sections provided greater histological detail but had fewer microspheres per section. Air dried lung tissue followed by Vibratome sectioning provided thick sections (100 microm) that facilitated rapid survey of large volumes of tissue for microspheres but limited histological detail, and the air drying procedure was restricted to lung tissue. Samples fixed in formalin followed by Vibratome sectioning of unembedded tissue provided better histological detail of lung tissue and was also useful for other organs. These sections were more difficult to handle and to mount on slides compared to air dried tissue, whereas fixed tissue embedded in gelatin provided better tissue support for Vibratome sectioning. Rapid freezing followed by cryomicrotome sectioning resulted in frozen sections that were relatively difficult to handle compared to embedded or unembedded tissue; they also deteriorated relatively rapidly with time. Paraffin sections were stained with hematoxylin and eosin or with aqueous methyl green, although tissue autofluorescence by itself was usually sufficient to identify histological features. Methacrylate sections quenched tissue autofluorescence, and Lee's stain or Richardson's stain were used for staining sections. Toluene based mountants such as Cytoseal quenched fluorescence, particularly the red fluorescent microspheres. Aqueous based mountants such as Aquamount, Crystal/Mount, Fluoromount-G were substituted, although such preparations were not as permanent as Cytoseal mounted coverglasses and tended to cause fading of stained sections.