Scanning Microscopy


X-ray microanalysis, neutron activation analysis and atomic absorption spectrometry were performed on normal and injured skeletal muscle. X-ray microanalysis of tenotomized rat soleus muscle showed significantly elevated levels of sodium and chlorine and lower potassium compared with normal muscle. Similar ion shifts could be demonstrated by neutron activation analysis and atomic absorption spectrometry. The concentrations of sodium and chlorine obtained by these techniques were somewhat higher and that of potassium lower than the values obtained by X-ray microanalysis. This can probably be attributed to the fact that in atomic absorption spectrometry and in neutron activation analysis the entire muscle biopsy contents are measured while in X-ray microanalysis only the contents of muscle cells unaffected by extracellular, non-muscular components are determined.

It can be concluded that X-ray microanalysis is a reliable technique to study the elemental content of biological tissue, especially tissue undergoing pathological changes affecting the extracellular spaces. Other types of analysis should be used when elements not detectable by X-ray microanalysis are of interest.

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