RE: Microwave Frozen Section Stain

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From:Steven Slap <>

Hi Histonetters

Daryl Mikita asked about the use of microwaves and frozen sections.  There 
is a chapter devoted to this topic ("Combining Microwave and Freeze 
Techniques) in Kok and Boon's Microwave Cookbook for Microscopists.  In 
this chapter, Dr. Boon makes a case for a brief microwave fixation step 
using an alcohol/polyethylene glycol fixative, Kryofix, prior to staining. 
 Dr. Boon concludes that "In our experience,, this method, this method has 
proven to be rapid and reliable, enabling 'quick section' diagnosis.  The 
task of the pathologist is greatly facilitated when he is provided with 
these excellent sections for his diagnostic work."  A fast H & E method to 
follow the Kryofix microwave fixation is also provided (p.217).

The other advantage of the microwave fixation method, beside improved 
morphology, was preservation of immunoreactivity.  Dr. Boon wrote "In a 
pilot study...all antigens under investigation survived both short-term 
ethanol <Kryofix> fixation and microwave heating to 50 degrees C.  In all 
cases, immunostaining of cryostat sections was excellent."

For further reading, Kennedy A Foulis AK (1989) Use of microwave oven 
improves morphology and staining of cryostat sections. J Clin Pathol 
42:101-105; Nakae et al (1990) Application of microwave irradiation in 
surgical pathology; improvement of microscopic-image of cryostat sections 
and exploration in rapid metallic stainings. Acta Histochem 

Note: Kryofix was a Merck product and is no longer manufactured.  Merck now 
manufactures a similar fixative called Neofix and Energy Beam Sciences 
sells a replacement fixative called Microfix.

Best regards,
Steven Slap

Energy Beam Sciences, Inc.
The Laboratory Microwave Company
Adding Brilliance to Your Vision

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