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Less toxic method for producing giant paper organ sections for pathology and anatomy education

Authors DeMartinis N, Finkbeiner W

Received 12 September 2014

Accepted for publication 6 October 2014

Published 17 November 2014 Volume 2014:6 Pages 41—45

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/PLMI.S74126

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Paul Zhang


Nicole C DeMartinis, Walter E Finkbeiner

Department of Pathology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA


Purpose: Traditionally, medical school pathology educators have used formalin-fixed specimens to demonstrate effects of diseases on target organs, despite the handling of these "wet" tissues having distinct disadvantages, such as the need for gloves, protective clothing, and appropriate facilities to limit potential fixative moisture and fumes. Paper-mounted sections of solid organs have significant potential as an aid for teaching gross pathology and eliminate the disadvantages of handling formalin-fixed specimens. However, published techniques for preparing giant organ sections include the use of the highly toxic ethylene glycol monoethyl ether (EGEE; 2-ethoxyethanol). We investigated whether replacing EGEE with a less toxic dehydrating and clearing agent, Histo-Clear™, would allow production of high-quality sections.
Materials and methods: Whimster's procedure for preparing rapid paper sections of lungs and other organs was modified to incorporate the xylene substitute Histo-Clear in place of EGEE.
Results: Giant paper sections of various organs were prepared. In addition to lungs, excellent pathology teaching specimens were prepared from other organs, including the brain, heart, kidney, liver, and colon. Side-by-side comparisons of paper-mounted organ sections prepared using EGEE and Histo-Clear were indistinguishable. The sections prepared using Histo-Clear showed fine anatomical and pathological details.
Conclusion: The Gough–Wentworth technique of preparing rapid giant paper sections of organs was made less toxic without sacrificing quality by using Histo-Clear as an alternative to EGEE. Paper-mounted sections offer a safe and portable way for studying macroscopic pathology, and have great potential for use in the anatomy and pathology classroom, as well as in postgraduate pathology training.

Keywords: organ macrosections, macroscopic pathology, Gough–Wentworth sections

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