Re: Mouse Brain Processing

From:"J. A. Kiernan" <>

On Thu, 9 Nov 2000, Peter Poon wrote:

> We have a problem with tissue processing we hope someone out there can 
> help us with. We are formalin-fixing, dehydrating, and wax-infiltrating 
> mouse brains in the standard manner for subsequent sectioning and staining. 
> Our problem is that the ventricles are greatly expanded. This morpholgical 
> distortion is critical, as we are doing quantitative immunohistochemistry 
> on the hypothalamus, and a third ventricle that looks like a football (or 
> worse) instead of a slit means the tissue lateral to the ventricle is 
> distorted and compressed. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

   First of all, are these normal mice? A small proportion of
   lab rodents have internal hydrocephalus. Mice subjected to
   some experimentation (especially while they were still in
   utero or less than 2 weeks post-birth) might have hydrocephalus
   that was induced by whatever was done - something important to 
   know about. 

   The lateral ventricles of mice and rats are, in most of their 
   extent, almost as slit-like as the 3rd ventricle. It is not 
   easy to believe that even the worst aberrations in the simple
   processing of a mouse's brain from formalin to paraffin (even
   if it was inadequately fixed) would cause the abnormalities 
   that you describe. Hydrocephalus compresses and distorts the
   brain tissue around the ventricles, and it's the simplest
   (to simple me) explanation of your observations.

 John A. Kiernan,
 Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology,
 The University of Western Ontario,
 LONDON,  Canada  N6A 5C1

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