Re: Leprosy and spirochete tissue controls

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From:Lee & Peggy Wenk <>
To:Lorraine C Smallwood <>
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Hi -

How about making your own?

See if your microbiology department has a culture growing or
available of a non-pathogenic spirochetes. (They usually don't
want to be working with syphilis or leprosy.)

Get some fresh tissue, NOT fixed. Preferably one without a lot of
bacteria, not autopsy tissue that the body was waiting for an autopsy
over the weekend, or not tissue like a lung with pneumonia.
Fresh normal lung works well. Slightly edematous lung works better.
A fresh placenta placed between towels and pressed on to remove
a lot of (most of) the blood works well, also.

Then have Microbiology prepare a tube of culture media to grow
the spirochete. Have them add the spirochete. Then you chop up
the fresh tissue into 2-3 mm cubes. Add the tissue to the media.
Stir to coat the tissue. Incubate as required for the spirochete,
usually incubator overnight to 24 hours.

Then add 10% NBF, and let it set for 30 minutes. This kills the
bugs. Now you can dump out the formalin, dispose like you normally
do, and add fresh formalin. You need to do this step, as the
10% NBF becomes dilute when you add it to the media.

Fix as you normally do (8 hours to overnight), then process as 
usual. The spirochetes will have "swum" their way into the tissue.
However, since the tissue is not alive, there will be no
inflammatory reaction in the tissue, but you will be able to
see the spirochetes.

The same techniques works for gram +, gram - and fungus. Just
have to change the culture media and the micro-organisms. Not
all microorganisms can be grown in culture, however, so we
haven't been able to do this for helicobacter or pneumocystis.

Then, write a memo to the pathologists in charge of histology,
microbiology, and pathology. Let them know how, cooperatively,
your two departments worked together to make these controls,
how many controls you made, how many slides this would equal,
how much that many control slides would cost if you had to buy 
the slides from a vendor, and therefore, how much money you
SAVED THE DEPARTMENT, using a technique that cost almost
nothing in terms of equipment, reagents and tech time. You
will be a hero!

Hope this helps.

Peggy A. Wenk, HTL(ASCP)
William Beaumont Hospital
Royal Oak, MI 48073

Lorraine C Smallwood wrote:
> Does anyone have Leprosy and Spirochete tissue controls that they can
> spare?  We have had bad luck with store-bought controls.  I can swap for
> controls that I have that you may need.  Thanks in
> advance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
> Lorraine
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