Re: Pig Skin Samples

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From:Victoria Baker <>
Date:Thu, 02 Sep 1999 18:14:33 -0700 (PDT)
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Hi Edna,

I have worked with a lot of pig skin, and it isn't easy to section, so
don't despair.  The epidermis of the pig skin is very cornified and the
hair of a pig is tougher than horse hair.  Here are a few of the things
that I did to get good quality sections.  

- when grossing tissue trim as much excess hair as possible without
damaging the epidermis.  Even though the animal may have been shaved at
the time of harvest not all of the hair may have cut.  
- embedding media can be filtered through lint free cloth to remove any
possible contaminants.
- embed tissue in such a manner that it can be cut dermis to epidermis.
 If the tissue section tears above the epidermal layer then you know
that you have hit a  real tough hair.
- trim your blocks and then soak them in a 1.5 to 2.0% solution of
ammonium hydroxide for just a couple of minutes.
- try to keep your blocks cold and moist.  If you can soak them in a
dish partially submerged in ice, thats okay, but if you use a spray
coolant, only spray the blade.  When I really had tough blocks, I'd
trim and then place them in a refrigerator on top of an ice plate with
moistened papertowels or gauze for about half an hour.  

I worked in wound healing so I had to cope with scar tissue, scabs,
crusts, cutaneous growths or a sort of mix of these, so I sometimes had
to get drastic.  

Hang in there!

Vikki Baker

--- Edna_J_Gonzalez/ wrote:
> Dear Histonet friends:
> I'm working with pig skin samples. I made paraffin
> blocks of them. Is there
> anyone out there who has done paraffin blocks on pig
> skin who can help?
> When I try to cut them, I cannot get the skin at
> all. I'm having split
> ribbons and lengthwise scratches where the sample
> starts. Do you have any
> suggestions? Thanks.
> Edna Gonzalez
> Histology Lab

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