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Benefits of Slight Compression for Tissue Sectioning

Published on July 18, 2022

Benefits of Compression for Tissue Slicing

Welcome to this week’s blog article where we will focus on understanding what the Compresstome® compression technology can do for you and how it effects your tissue. Compression technology with the use of agarose during tissue embedding is a concept unfamiliar to some, but this blog will guide you through how it can improve your slice quality while finding out what separates Precisionary from the rest of the pack!

Founding Principles

Back in 2004, Dr. Jian-Qiang Kong the founder of Precisionary Instruments, had a revelation one day while he was cooking meat. He found that if you squeezed the meat while you cut across the compressed area, the blade went through much, much easier. Him being an accomplished neuroscientist, he immediately realized what this could do for slicing tissue for research purposes. 14 years and a lot of research and development later and we have the Precisionary Instruments we know today!

How does it work?

Benefits of compression diagram

This is a simple, but patented technology that provides a new advance in the Vibratome industry that has previously seen almost no innovations in decades. When using our machines, you will embed your tissue inside one of our specimen tubes in agarose. You will notice that one end of the specimen tube has a slightly smaller opening than the other side. This tighter opening is what provides that unique and uniform compression onto the tissue embedded inside. This compression is what creates most of the benefits you see for using our machine versus other vibratomes.

Why Agarose?

Embedding tissue in agarose is simple and proven to keep tissue from harm. The agarose helps stabilize the tissue during cutting with the Compresstome® and goes hand in hand with its compression technology. This yields slices with smooth surfaces and does not harm or disrupt the tissue. Agarose embedding allows you to cut consistent, even tissue slices without chatter marks.

So what exactly are the benefits of compression?

A lot more than you might imagine. The compression helps stabilize the tissue while we cut through it, for one. That extra uniform surrounding stabilization allows us to cut through at a faster speed than other market vibratomes. That doesn’t just mean faster workflow, but also means less damage the tissue surface itself.

That is where the benefits really kick in. The compression is what allows the Compresstome to produce such healthy slices, but also produce slices with a significant reduction in visible chatter marks. See below for a nice comparison.

Benefits of compression comparison

So what does this mean for you besides “it cuts better than the rest!”?

The Compresstome is able to handle tissue that other vibratomes can’t. This makes it ideal for working with mature animals, as the Compresstome has been used to successfully section fresh 24 month old mouse brains. It allows us to section significantly thinner than our competitors. Our slicers can section down to as thin as 4 µm in some cases! This makes the Compresstome even an alternative to a cryostat for extremely thin slices! Extremely thin slices for fixed tissue, and healthy sections that preserve longevity and to keep those surface neurons healthy.

To learn more about the benefits of compression and how the Compresstome can help benefit your research, check out this informative video.

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