Endogenous enzyme activity can be readily and routinely demonstrated in ultrathin, frozen sections for electron microscopy. The procedure employed to obtain the best structural preservation as well as enzyme activity in thin sections involved fixation in glutaraldehyde, embedding in thiolated gelatin or pure gelatin, partial dehydration in glycerol, and sectioning in a cryostat at -35°C with a slightly modified Porter-Blum microtome on which the tissue is maintained at -70°C and the knife at -23°C. Kidney cortex was used as test tissue, but a few other organs were occasionally used. Thin sections were floated on the surface of several incubation media routinely employed for enzyme cytochemistry. Positive, specific reactions were obtained for alkaline phosphatase in kidney brush border, for adenosine triphosphatase in brush border and in basal membranes of distal tubules, for acid phosphatase and esterase in lysosomes, and for NADH diaphorase in mitochondria. Mitochondrial ATPase was sporadically evident only in the distal tubule of the kidney. Localizations of enzyme activity reported by other technical approaches were confirmed and in some cases somewhat improved.

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