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Sweating the Small Stuff

Presenter: Jennifer Johnson, B.S., HTL (ASCP) and Sheila Macri, DVM, DACVP
February 16, 2017
10:00 AM PT / 1:00 PM ET

Have you ever received a sample that was very important but really small?  Have you ever wondered - how am I going to process this speck of tissue into paraffin and section it without losing it?  Or have you ever been delivered a thin vessel or nerve and asked to give multiple cross sections through the length of it?   Has worrying about embedding cells into paraffin blocks ever stressed you out?  Tiny tissues can drive you crazy trying to get the best orientation to get a decent section! No matter how challenging, as histologists we are often called on to find a way to get it into block, with the right orientation and get the perfect section suitable for interpretation.  

These are scenarios we deal with routinely in our lab.  Working with rodent tissues, especially from very young animals, these tiny and difficult to orient tissues are a regular submission.  Small volumes of valuable cells from clinical patients often require paraffin embedding for subsequent IHC and special staining.  When these samples are critical to proper diagnosis or animal model characterization, the use of a secondary medium or gel can be a life saver!  

In this workshop, we will follow the handling of small tissues/cells from the concept to the slide.  We will discuss commercially and home-made gels to aid in the embedding and also the specific orientation of difficult to handle tissues.  The process from making and preparing the gels through staining will be discussed and protocols used will be shared.

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