Re: Tissue Shrinkage

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According to Baker in Principles of Biological Microtechnique  (a wonderful
little book that is unfortunately out of print), shrinkage is dependent on the
fixative.  Some of the data for the mean volume expressed as % of fresh organ
originally published by Berg (unfortunately in German) on mammalian liver is:
The first number is after fixation, the second after dehydration with abs.
ethanol, the third after infiltration with paraffin
mercuric chloride, sat. aq. - 94,  80, 70
formaldehyde, 4% aq - 99, 83, 68
chromium trioxide, 1% aq - 78, 68, 64
ethanol, 96% - 82, 76, 55
potassium dichromate, 3% aq  - 100, 64, 49
picric acid, sat. aq - 74, 64, 42

Figures are not given for the acids, but they swell tissue tremendously, and
the swelling effect is progressive.  Baker states that a gel swelled in acetic
acid solution to about 13 times its original volume in a week.  The swelling
effects of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid are less than that.

Hope this helps somewhat.  If you can find a copy of Baker's book, I highly
recommend it.

Freida Carson

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