RE: Inforamtion on cutting hard tissues

From:"Frank, John D." <>

Contact Linda Jenkins at She is the chair of the
Hard Tissue Committee for the National Society for Histotechnology and might
have some ideas for you.


John D. Frank
Merck Research Laboratories
PO Box 4
West Point, PA 19486

215-652-7758 (fax)

> ----------
> From:[]
> Sent: 	Tuesday, November 14, 2000 1:25 PM
> To:;
> Subject: 	Re: Inforamtion on cutting hard tissues
> Dear Sharma,
>      I think there is a hard tissue subgroup of HistoNet that may have
> ideas 
> to rescue you.  Is this correct, HistoNetters?  Also, I have heard reports
> of 
> histologists doing plastic sectioning for large pieces of undecalcified
> hard 
> tissue.
>      We frequently get animal digits, particularly canine, and have to 
> section the nail.  Of course, this is substantially smaller than a hoof,
> but 
> the material is similar.  On the off chance that this might help you, I
> will 
> tell you how we handle our hard tissues.  For any bone or nail specimens
> we 
> receive, we decalcify the specimen by soaking it in at least a 10:1 ratio
> of 
> 5% nitric acid to specimen volume.  We change the solution daily and 
> decalcify for several hours to as long as 2 weeks depending on the tissue.
> Removing any unnecessary tissue is helpful for penetration.  After the
> tissue 
> feels soft, we paraffin process it.
>      After processing and embedding, if the sample is still too hard to
> cut 
> well, we face the block and soak the surface of the block on a gauze
> sponge 
> soaked in 5% nitric acid solution in a closed container for several
> minutes.  
> I then switch to a thick microtome blade and if I cut slowly and
> carefully, I 
> can usually get several good sections.  Using charged slides is usually 
> necessary for the section to remain adhered to the slide during the
> staining 
> process.
>      Good luck hoofing it!
> Kim Atkin
> Histology Laboratory Supervisor
> Angell Memorial Animal Hospital
> 350 South Huntington Avenue
> Boston, MA 02130
> Inforamtion on cutting hard tissues
> From: 
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ----
> --
> Hello everybody,
> As part of ongoing research at our company I was trying to cut uniform
> cross
> sections of bovine hooves across the horizontal plane. We recently bought
> a 
> new
> sliding microtome (HM 440E, Carl Zeiss, Inc.) and were using it with a
> Tungsten-carbide knife.  Unfortunately the tissue is much harder than what
> we
> expected and we were unsucessful. I was wondering if anyone out there had
> a
> similar experience with this kind of material or with some other hard 
> material.
> I would be grateful if someone could give me tips about any how to cut
> hard
> materials or inform me of any softening methods used for hard keratinous
> materials.
> I am new to the process of microtomy and also a new addition to this list.
> Thanks for your time.
> Sanjay Sharma

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