methylmethacrylate protocols

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From:Gayle Callis <>
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The 20th anniversary issue of Journal of Histotechnology has 14 articles on
bone histotechniques, one by Cathy Mayton (Sanderson).  This is a review
article titled Entering the realm of mineralized bone processing: A review
of the literature and techniques  JOH 20(3):259-266, 1997.

This article will get you a bargain deal, folks!  The referencing will and
can take you into all aspects of undecalcified bone technics by people who
are considered experts in the field on PMMA bone work. May take some
digging/reading/sorting, since there is no book out to do this for you, but
it will aid you in fine tuning PMMA, a toxic, often tedious and frustrating
procedure.  Messiness MUST be controlled, and there are ways.  You should
see Linda Jenkins lab, hoods everywhere! 
There are several bone workshops at NSH this year, Monty Hyten and Donna
Brown, Neal Clark/Jack Lemons, and Donna Montague/Bob Skinner are all doing
workshops, and it has been awhile since a bone/PMMA workshop has been at
NSH.  I would be a good investment to take these as PMMA work isn't easy
and comparable to Rome not being built in a day!  Hmmmm cliche TGIF! 

Embedding containers depend on size of bone, the flat bottomed plastic
specimen containers with screw tops that have a molded O ring design  (used
to package formalin, Starplex from Fisher), Erie Scientific has some great
ones also.  Scintillation vials (polypropylene type) are useful - cut off
bottom, push block out, shape and cut! 
Have use 15 and 50 ml plastic centrifuge tubes.  Glass containers can be
dangerous, subject to breakage during heat of polymerization, plus having
to shatter them and pick out all those nasty glass shards.  The Peel away
molds will work, but must be contained inside of another plastic container.
 I have checked out every hardware store between Montana, Idaho, and Utah
and amassed a collection of some odd ball plastic containers!

Rubbermaid containers work, all sizes and shapes.  A favorite is Nalgene
plastic jars (lids fit on outside of jar). These are easier to handle than
pop top lids, easier to open, less danger of spilling, and can be reused
after block removal.  Shaping the blocks requires some type of band saw or
grinding to remove excess. 

Whatever one does, don't breathe fumes or particles of plastic dust, and
never spill any of this stuff on you, particularly Spurrs.  Controlling
messy  plastics is something one does diligently and with extreme caution,
if you can smell monomer, you are "dinging" your motor sensory system!
Plastic components/mixtures are not something you can slop around.  And you
cannot wear contact lenses around fumes unless you want them glued to your
corneas, safety glasses, respirators, gloves, ad nauseum and fumes
eventually eat glamorous plastic eye glasses frames, have some that peeled
- even with careful handling of MMA.    

Well, have a great weekend! 


Gayle Callis
Veterinary Molecular Biology
Montana State University
Bozeman MT 59717-3610
406 994-4705
406 994-4303

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