Manual for the Preparation and Staining of Embedded Natural Dry Bone Tissue Sections for Microscopy
Article first published online: 22 FEB 2011
Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
International Journal of Osteoarchaeology
Volume 23, Issue 1, pages 83–93, January/February 2013
How to Cite
de Boer, H. H., Aarents, M. J. and Maat, G. J. R. (2013), Manual for the Preparation and Staining of Embedded Natural Dry Bone Tissue Sections for Microscopy. Int. J. Osteoarchaeol., 23: 83–93. doi: 10.1002/oa.1242
- Issue published online: 24 JAN 2013
- Article first published online: 22 FEB 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 23 DEC 2010
- Manuscript Revised: 3 DEC 2010
- Manuscript Received: 9 AUG 2010
In the last decade, the use of light microscopy has been firmly established for the investigation of exhumated human bone tissue. As a rule, these remains cannot be decalcified; thus, they are most commonly prepared for microscopic analysis as ground thin sections. These ground sections are of great value in diagnosing disease, in estimating age or in assessing taphonomic alteration. As bone is sometimes fragile and can be damaged by the grinding process, the specimen is occasionally supported by an embedding medium.
In contrast to the vast amount of research conducted on embedded and unembedded unstained bone material, the use of histological stains on undecalcified dry bone tissue has been long neglected. In this article, a new method for embedding, sawing and grinding dry bone tissue is presented. The produced sections are subsequently stained with haematoxylin. The results show that even ground sections of fragile bone can be made in a quick and easy manner. Staining these sections enhances the envisioning of micro-architecture and taphonomical processes. In addition, the sections stay open for inspection under polarized light. The results were consistent throughout the used bone material. To keep the method as accessible and comprehensive as possible, a step-wise manual is provided. An additional troubleshooting paragraph discusses the most often encountered problems and provides solutions. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.