Re: leg bones

From:Geoff McAuliffe

    You can digest the muscle and other tissues (assuming no fixation) 
with the enzyme papain at 37degrees C. A colleague of mine did this many 
years ago when she was studying osteometrics in mice. You will need to 
remove the skin first and you will also need a well-ventilated area, the 
odor is ...... shall we say objectionable. After digestion you can 
de-fat with acetone. I suspect that you can get papain from Sigma and a 
protocol from natural history types who do this sort of thing. You could 
also use "museum beetles" (Dermestidae?) to eat away the tissue, again 
assuming that it has not been fixed. Have fun! :-)

Geoff (who grew up in a Biology dept. where all sorts of things went on)

Rohan Walker wrote:

>Hi Histonet,
>I have inherited some legs (rat) - snap frozen at time of collection and subsequently stored in a  -80 freezer.  I have been asked to measure bone lengths (tibia, fibia, femur). The catch is if there is one is that the entire leg has simply been removed from the pelvis, muscle and all and stored.  Now obviously I could simply thaw the leg and remove the muscle surgically but there are quite a few legs.  Might there be some alternative solution - I am thinking something along the lines of a solvent that I could stick all the legs into that would dissolve the muscle and not the bone?  Any suggestions?
>Rohan Walker
>Doctoral Student
>Laboratory of Neuroimmunology
>University of Newcastle
>Callghan, N.S.W.  Australia.

Geoff McAuliffe, Ph.D.
Neuroscience and Cell Biology
Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
675 Hoes Lane, Piscataway, NJ 08854
voice: (732)-235-4583; fax: -4029

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