A method is described for studying by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) all the surfaces of fully differentiated cells from intact tissues. Thus, cell faces normally hidden from view are exposed and made available for SEM examination. This is achieved by fixing the tissue in OSO4 and then soaking it in a 1% solution (in water) of boric acid. After different periods of time, varied according to particular tissue, slight mechanical pressure will cause the fixed tissue to dissociate into its component cells. These are then made to adhere to a substrate and are taken through critical point drying, etc., for examination. Observations are reported on the topography of whole hepatocytes, adsorptive cells of the intestinal epithelium, proximal tubule cells of the rat kidney, mammary tumor cells of the mouse, and rat sarcoma cells. Several other tissues are reported to dissociate when similarly treated, but for each the procedure must be slightly modified.

This content is only available as a PDF.