Effects of long-term fixation on histological quality of undecalcified murine bones embedded in methylmethacrylate

G. A. Merrell, N. W. Troiano, C. E. Coady, Melissa A. Kacena

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


While long-term fixation and storage of specimens is common and useful for many research projects, it is particularly important for space flight investigations where samples may not be returned to Earth for several months (International Space Station) or years (manned mission to Mars). We examined two critical challenges of space flight experimentation: the effect of long-term fixation on the quality of mouse bone preservation and the preservation of antigens and enzymes for both histochemical and immunohistochemical analyses, and how the animal/sample processing affects the preservation. We show that long-term fixation minimally affects standard histological staining, but that enzyme histochemistry and immunolabeling are greatly compromised. Further, we demonstrate that whole animal preservation is not as suitable as whole leg or stripped leg preservation for long-term fixation and all histological analyses. Overall, we recommend whole leg processing for long-term storage of bone specimens in fixative prior to embedding in plastic for histological examination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-146
Number of pages8
JournalBiotechnic and Histochemistry
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - May 1 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone
  • Fixation
  • Histology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • MMA
  • Methylmethacrylate
  • Preservation
  • Space flight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Histology
  • Medical Laboratory Technology

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