[Histonet] Re: Polyester wax
I have used the polyester wax (Steedman's wax) a lot for immunofluorescence
in plants (with antibodies for actin, tubulin, FtsZ, GFP, c-myc, and
other). I remember there were some old papers where the wax was used for
decalcified bones. Unfortunately these reprints were left behind during my
last move, but a quick search found a couple papers that may be relevant:
1. Sage, M., Polyethylene-Glycol Distearate 600 with 10 Percent
1-Hexadecanol - Superior Embedding Wax for Warm Climates. Stain Technology,
1972. 47(6): p. 313-&.
2. Goodwin, J.R., Polyester Wax Processing of Tissues - Some New
Techniques and Detailed Procedures. American Journal of Medical Technology,
1974. 40(2): p. 45-49.
3. Josephse.K, Technique for Isolating Enamel Organ of Rat Incisor for
Histologic Studies. Scandinavian Journal of Dental Research, 1974. 82(3):=20
4. Moores, B.D., Thin Histological Sections from Tissues Impregnated=20
with Digol Distearate. Medical Laboratory Sciences, 1976. 33(1): p. 73-77.
5. Kusakabe, M., Sakakura, T., Nishizuka, Y., Sano, M., and Matsukage,
A., Polyester Wax Embedding and Sectioning Technique for
Immunohistochemistry. Stain Technology, 1984. 59(3): p. 127-132.
6. Roholl, P.J.M., Dullens, H.F.J., Kleijne, J., Dubbink, E.J., and
Denotter, W., Acid Ethanol Fixation and Polyester Wax Embedding Combines
Preservation of Antigenic Determinants with Good Morphology and Enables
Simultaneous Bromodeoxyuridine (Brdu) Labeling. Biotechnic &
Histochemistry, 1991. 66(2): p. 55-62.
7. Richardson, L.L. and Dym, M., Improved Adhesiveness of Polyester
Wax Sections for Immunocytochemistry. Biotechniques, 1994. 17(5): p. 846-848.
As far as handling and sectioning, I was quite happy with the sectioning
properties; I was cutting sections between 5 and 15 microns.
There are few tricks that are useful to make the sectioning work well; see
the book chapter:
Vitha, S., Baluška, F., Jasik, J., Volkmann, D., and Barlow, P., Steedman's
wax for F-actin visualization, in Actin: a Dynamic Framework for Multiple=20
Plant Cell Functions, C.J. Staiger, F. Baluška, D. Volkmann, and P. Barlow,
Editors. 2000, Kluwer: Dordrecht, The Netherlands. p. 619-636.
You can download the PDF from
The disadvantage of the above method is that the ribbons sometimes do not=20
100%, or al least not all sections; for what I was doing it was not
critical, I was more interested in cellular and subcellular immunostaining
rather that looking at tissue and whole-organ morphology.
Also see my previous post to this forum (10-21-2004)
>Date: Thu, 28 Oct 2004 00:33:36 -0700
>From: "Webster, Paul"
>Subject: [Histonet] polyester wax
>Content-Type: text/plain; charset="Windows-1252"
>Does anyone have experience with polyester wax as a substitute embedding=20
>medium? Is it possible to section decalcified bone and does it really
>offer better results for immunohistology?
>Paul Webster, Ph.D.
>House Ear Institute
>2100 W. 3rd St.
Dr. Stanislav Vitha email@example.com
Microscopy and Imaging Center
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-2257
tel: 979-845-1129 (main desk)
tel: 979-845-1607 (direct link)
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