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Compresstome Slice Videos in Action

Published on August 22, 2022

This week we would like you to get a look at the Compresstome tissue slicer in action. Please visit our YouTube channel to see how our vibrating microtome takes advantage of our patented compression technology and agarose embedding to produce superior tissue sections (Figure 1):

Compresstome Tissue Slicer Video
Figure 1. A tissue sample is advanced forward through the tapered end of the specimen tube where it is cut. The tissue section produced is free floating in the solution inside of the Compresstome buffer tray.

Compression Technology

The Compresstome® was developed in 2004 through a collaboration between scientists and engineers after they realized the benefit of compression during tissue sectioning. The Compresstome® was designed to meet the needs of researchers and high-throughput industry laboratories to produce superior tissue sections. Our tissue slicer uses gentle compression and agarose embedding to produce high-quality consistent sections for scientists and research clinicians. Compression is achieved with the unique design of our specimen tubes. Our tubes have one end that is slightly tapered to slightly compress the embedded tissue inside (Figure 2). This compression is what creates most of the benefits you see for using our machine versus other tissue slicers and allows the Compresstome® to handle tissue that other vibrating microtomes can’t.

Compresstome Tissue Slicer: Tissue Sample
Figure 2. Tissue samples are placed onto of a white tissue plunger and safely embedded inside a stainless steel specimen tube.

Agarose Embedding

When using our tissue slicers, you will need to embed your tissue in agarose before you begin sectioning. We provide all customers with a Starter Kit in their Compresstome quote. The starter kit contains all the consumables needed to begin sectioning with the Compresstome from the moment it is received. Included in this kit are condensed pre-weighed agarose tablets. They are low-melting type agarose, thus they will never disrupt the health of your tissue (fresh or fixed tissue). After preparing the agarose solution, it will be kept in a warm water bath set to 37 degrees C to prevent congealing. When you are ready with your tissue sample, you will glue your tissue (only a small amount of glue is needed, and the glue is also provided in your Starter Kit) sample to the plastic plunger of the specimen tube (Figure 2).

You will then draw down the plunger, pipette the agarose solution, and use a Chilling Block (an accessory we provide) to rapidly chill the agarose into a gel. This only takes about 15 seconds to do. The agarose gel gives your tissue sample 360 degree stability inside the tube, and so it will never shift around during sectioning. The agarose gel also aids in the gentle compression, as the gel gets compressed directly, the tissue sample does not take the full force of the gentle compression. These two elements combined (agarose embedding + gentle compression) are what provide the many benefits for the produced tissue slices on the Compresstome (Figure 3).

Figure 3. The cutting blade passes over the tapered opening of the specimen tube to produce a free-floating tissue section.

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