Basic Histology Methods

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Learn about basic histology methods.

Basic Histology Methods Table of Contents

Basic Histology Methods

Materials for Histological Work

Very little apparatus and few reagents are essential for general histological work. Such as are really needed may be so arranged as to fit in a box or bag, that can be carried in the hand. First of all, the student should be provided with Curved Iris Scissors.

Pair of small forceps, with either curved or straight points , according to individual fancy; a pair of delicate curved iris scissors a few pipettes; a glass rod or two ; a spoon for lifting sections of tissues from the fluids in which they have been immersed ; a pair of needles in handles for teasing or tearing tissues ; (the handles used for crochet needles, or the pin-slides sold by jewelers, may be fitted with ordinary milliner's needles, which are long, delicate, and flexible, and therefore well adapted for this work a sable or camel's hair brush for removing cellular elements, so as to bring particular parts into prominence ; bibulous paper ; a sharp knife for cutting thin sections.

For this purpose the razors made by Le Coultre, in Geneva, have been highly recommended, but good knives may be obtained of almost any cutler ; indeed, most of the makers of surgical instruments furnish them ; they are usually flat on one side and slightly concave on the other.

Five or six shallow porcelain dishes, ounce gallipots, with flat bottoms, in which to soak the tissues when they have been cut ; glass slides for mounting specimens (the ordinary size is 3 x 1 inch) ; thin glass or mica covers (squares or circles) for covering the specimens (three-quarters of an inch is a good diameter).

Mica covers are much cheaper than glass, and are suitable for rapid work and when it is not desirable to make permanent preparations.

In addition, a small Beer's cataract knife will be found useful for puncturing vessels and hollow organs to obtain samples of their fluid contents. All of these articles may easily be contained in the drawer of a box 10 x 12 inches in size ; ' the upper portion will hold the necessary reagents. These latter should comprise a small amount of a three-fourths per cent, aqueous solution of sodium chloride, about an equal amount of distilled water, dilute acetic acid, glycerine, and iodized serum; a fluid ounce of each will be all that is necessary, and for convenience of use they may be put in corked bottles provided with capped pipettes passing through the corks. The vials and perforated corks may be obtained of almost any apothecary. The cap being of rubber, very small quantities of the fluid can be withdrawn from the bottle and pressed out as desired, either upon the slide or otherwise.

Other reagents required are oil of cloves in a two-ounce stoppered bottle ; dammar varnish or Canada balsam, each in a capped bottle (Fig. 7), containing a glass rod ; a solution of logwood, and another of borax carmine,* in ordinary glass stoppered two-ounce bottles, and a small vial of asphalt or some similar cement. It will be useful, in addition, to have a small bottle (4 oz.) Of absolute alcohol, another (8 oz.) Of commercial alcohol, some Muller's fluid 3 (8 oz.), and a solution of the bichromate of potassium (gr. Xv. 3 j.). 1 T. H. McAllister, optician, No. 49 Nassau Street, New York City, has made one for me which answers the purpose satisfactorily. Miller Bros., No. 69 Nassau Street and 1213 Broadway, New York City, also make and furnish cases for the same purpose.

No good histological work can be done without a note-book to record the results of observation. All such memoranda will be very useful for subsequent reference. A Jieating slide, a gas chamber and a slide arranged for conducting electric cur rents may also be desirable. They will be described in the chapter on the Blood.

The following substances that cannot be contained in a box, and are necessary in some forms of microscopic work, may be mentioned: osmic acid (1 percent.), nitric acid (C. P.), distilled water, olive oil, caustic soda or potash, chloride of gold ( per cent, sol.).' It is also very convenient to have at hand a short wooden rule which is divided into inches and tenths of an inch. The stage micrometer is also equally necessary. Other accessory materials will be described in their proper places.

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