Scanning Microscopy


We have previously described artifacts in corrosion casts prepared with Mercox®, diluted with methylmethacrylic acid (MMA). Using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) of casts and light microscopy (LM) of tissue sections, we found new forms of artifacts in casts prepared with both undiluted and MMA-diluted Mercox®. When undiluted Mercox® was used, most of the casts did not show artifacts. Artifacts were rarely seen and comprised empty casts consisting of a rim, while endothelial cell nuclear imprints and other vascular wall structures were replicated. Other casts sometimes showed vessels with a fine granular surface or some with conglomerates in their internal structure, however, surrounding vessels were well cast. When using MMA-diluted Mercox®, beside casts consisting only of a rim of resin, casts with granular surface, or casts composed of conglomerates, we found casts which were partially collapsed, casts with artifacts on many vessels, casts which only rudimentarily mimicked vascular structures, and finally casts which did not reveal any vascular structures. Light microscopy confirmed these findings and showed that the number of artifacts increases toward the periphery of an individual microvascular bed, demonstrated in intestinal villi as a model. The number of artifacts was higher when MMA-diluted Mercox® was used, regardless of the tissue or species used. Casts which did not replicate vascular structures were never found when undiluted Mercox® was used. Therefore, we recommend the use of undiluted Mercox® for the preparation of vascular corrosion casts.

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