Scanning Microscopy


The localization of calcium in cell organelles at the electron microscope level is often achieved through cytochemical techniques, and verified by X-ray microanalysis. Various methods have been used to cytochemically detect calcium or calcium-binding sites : calcium loading, calcium substitution by strontium, barium, or even lead, and calcium precipitation by oxalate, phosphate, fluoride, or pyroantimonate. Their results may have heuristic value, particularly in preliminary studies of poorly known cell types. A complementary and more physiological approach is offered by quantitative measurement of the total calcium content of organelles after cryofixation.

Resin embedding is less demanding than cryomicrotomy and gives better images : it can be used after cryosubstitution in the presence of oxalic acid. This technique was tested, and applied to several cell types.

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