Confocal Microscopy

One of the most useful methods to characterize mouse phenotypes is microscopy, especially newer techniques like confocal microscopy. Confocal microscopy uses fluorescent antibodies or probes to illuminate the desired immunofluorescent image. This technique is advantageous for its production of fine-focused images that can be collected rapidly and stored to disk or hard drive, thus allowing for optimal interpretation. The immunofluorescent images are created through the use of lasers rather than mercury lamps, enabling the production of monochromatic light of a defined wavelength.16 Immunof-luorescence is most often used in evaluation of immunoglobin deposits in the skin and renal membranes, examination of neuropeptides in nerves, and antigen studies.8 Immunofluorescence can be used with frozen sections or fresh whole cells. It should be noted that formalin-fixed tissues can autofluoresce and should not be used.

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