Problems with processing muscle.

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Sorry, I did not catch the orginal inquiry on this.  But here's my two sense
from my experience of processing many muscles.

I don't know of any reason why xylene would alter any tissue to be brittle.  On
a weekend or holiday schedule, I used to set the processing schedule to process
the tissues normally (approx 55 minutes each station) and added the holding
once it reached the last xylene (station 10 on my schedule).  Xylene is a
hydrocarbon and does not contain aldehydes therefore, with less exposure in 10%
NBF , less cross linkage, less loss of antigenicity.  Every little bit  helps.
The paraffin times remained at 1hour .  I used low-melting point paraffin
in the

Muscle does has the tendency to be brittle and should be faced-off and then
placed on an  watery ice tray until it appears to have an opaque appearance.
This means the tissue is hydrated.   It is ready to be sectioned at this point.
The first few sections probably will need to be discarded.  Try not to go to
deep because the  tissue will become brittle again.  If this happens, just take
it back to the soaking stage.

Hope this helps.

Rande Kline, HT (ASCP)

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