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Histological investigation of organisms with hard skeletons: a case study of siliceous sponges


, : Histological investigation of organisms with hard skeletons: a case study of siliceous sponges. Biotechnic & Histochemistry 78(3-4): 191-199

Siliceous and calcareous sponges commonly are treated with acid to remove the spicules prior to embedding and cutting for histological investigations. Histology of spiculated sponge tissue represents a challenging problem in sponge histotechnology. Furthermore, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), a key method for studying sponge-associated microbes, is not possible after acid treatment. For a broad range of siliceous sponge species, we developed and evaluated methods for embedding in paraffin, methylmethacrylate resins, LR White resin and cryomatrix. Different methods for cutting tissue blocks as well as mounting and staining sections also were tested. Our aim was to enable histological investigations and FISH without prior removal of the spicules. To obtain an overview of tissue and skeleton arrangement, we recommend embedding tissue blocks with LR White resin combined with en bloc staining techniques for large specimens with thick and numerous spicules, but paraffin embedding and subsequent staining for whole small specimens. For FISH on siliceous sponges, we recommend Histocryl embedding if the spicule content is high, but paraffin embedding if it is low. Classical histological techniques are used for detailed tissue examinations.

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PMID: 14714883


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