RE: silicone membrane sections

From:"Charles W. Scouten, Ph.D."

We have had success, working with Nike corporation, in using a
Vibratome(tm) to saw through rubber materials.  Send me a sample of the
silicone, without the cells, and we will try to cut some slices.  How
thin do you need?


Charles W.  Scouten, Ph.D.
5918 Evergreen Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63134
Ph: 314 522 0300  
FAX  314 522 0277

-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Machin UK [] 
Sent: Sunday, May 12, 2002 1:38 PM
To: Histonet Histonet Histonet
Subject: silicone membrane sections

I have had a request to cut sections from a novel porous silicone
discs onto which is grown ciliated epithelium.
The silicone membrane is made buy mixing a silicone plastic with fine
salt grains and extruding the mixture through a circular dye to form
These cylinders are cut into circular discs.
The discs are washed in water to remove the salt which leaves an open
mesh network of the plastic.
Fibroblasts are grown on the discs and then ciliated epithelium is
grown on the fibroblasts.
The object is to cut sections to see the penetration of cells into
the open structure of the disc.
I have tried processing into wax but the plastic is too soft and it
pulls away from the wax.
Soaking the disc in gelatine and fixing before processing does not
help either because the plastic remains flexible.
I have tried frozen sections but again the plastic remains flexible
at -20C and will not section.When looking at the sections down the
microscope is is clear that the plastic is pulling away from the wax.
Freezing in liquid nitrogen makes the discs stiff but we don't have a
cryostat which will get down to those temperatures.
Does anyone know of a way to harden the plastic without artifactually
damaging the cells grown upon it?
I would love to here from workers who have solved this problem.

Best Wishes

Steve Machin
Sheffield Children's Hospital UK

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