Glutaraldehyde

1. Indications. This is a fixative for electron microscopic studies and certain histochemical methods (see below)

but phosphate-buffered glutaraldehyde also can be used as an all-purpose fixative. Glutaraldehyde produces less irritating fumes than formalin, is well-suited for perfusion of large specimens, and yields excellent cytological details. Connective tissue stains are well differentiated. The dye uptake is increased in glutaraldehyde-fixed sections. Sectioning artifacts are less frequent. The fixative is more expensive than formalin.

2. Composition. The final preparation represents a 2% glutaraldehyde solution: 50 mL purified glutaraldehyde, 25%, 575 mL Sorenson's phosphate buffer 0.1 M, pH 7.4.

3. Procedure. Fix slices not thicker than 4 mm in 20 volumes of 4% glutaraldehyde solution. The fixation time at room temperature will be 6-24 h. Cold fixation with glutaraldehyde for histochemical enzyme location yields complete fixation after 6 h but only in the outer 1 mm of tissue.

4. Storage. Use 2% or 4% glutaraldehyde solution; store at 4°C.

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