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How Do Compresstomes® Work?

Find out how our vibrating microtome works to slice tissue sections

What's different about the Compresstome® Tissue Slicer?

Welcome to finding out about the Compresstome®! Our Compresstome® tissue slicer is a vibrating microtome that uses a high-frequency oscillating cutting blade to help you slice through tissue to get sections for research and clinical use. The Compresstome®’s unique feature is that you embed your tissue sample into a stainless steel tube (called a “specimen tube“) and surround it with agarose. The agarose provides 360-degree stability around your tissue during the entire cutting process, allowing you to achieve higher quality slices. 

Problems with other vibratomes

There are many different types of tissue slicers on the market, but they don’t operate the way that the Compresstome® does. Other market vibratomes will have a flat stage where you glue your tissue sample, with a cutting blade that approaches horizontally. However, the blade can easily push your tissue sample and squish, tilt, and compress it—all of these effects may damage cells and tissue architecture.


Benefits of slight compression for tissue slicing

Embedding tissue in agarose is simple and proven to keep the tissue from harm. The agarose helps stabilize the tissue during cutting with the Compresstome®. 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.

How the Compresstome® works

Quickly Learn How to Use the Compresstome®

Watch this short 3 minute video explaining how the Compresstome® vibrating microtome works from start to finish! It’s so easy to use.

Compresstome® Produces Higher Quality Tissue Slices

The Compresstome® vibrating microtome has been scientifically demonstrated to create more consistent  tissue sections for immunohistochemistry and electrophysiology compared to other vibratomes. Here, you can see the significant reduction in chattermarks in tissues slices produced with our Compresstome® tissue slicer versus sections (A, C). Slices made at the same cutting speed and oscillation on another market vibratome produces chattermarks on the surface of tissue slices.

Comparison of tissue slices sectioned with a Compresstome® vibrating microtome vs. another leading market vibratome.
Mouse brains sectioned with a Compresstome® yields significantly higher number of healthy, live neurons for electrophysiology compared to slices made by other leading market vibratomes.

What is Auto Zero-Z® Technology? How does it benefit tissue slicing?

Compresstome® slicer models marked with “-0Z” mean that the model has our patented Auto Zero-Z® technology. These vibrating heads are precisely aligned to eliminate vibrations in the Z-axis. Auto Zero-Z® technology helps reduce damage to surface cells on live tissue samples, and further reduce chattermarks on thin sections for improved imaging results.

Equivalent to the vibratome Vibrocheck, but you don’t have to calibrate each time you cut which saves you time. Auto Zero-Z is also included in all of our Compresstome® vibrating microtomes, so it’s no additional cost.

What's the Compresstome® preparation process?

The entire process takes under 5 minutes! In short, here are the steps:

    1. Prepare your agarose solution (typically 2%). We make this even easier with agarose tablets!
    2. Glue your tissue sample into the specimen tube.
    3. Add agarose solution into the specimen tube, covering your tissue sample.
    4. Rapidly cool the specimen tube with a chilling block.
    5. Insert the specimen tube into the buffer tray, add buffer solution (like water or PBS).
    6. Begin slicing!

Here is a visual step-by-step guide for how this works:

Step 1. Prepare ~2% agarose solution (takes 2-3 minutes)
Step 2. Embed tissue into specimen tube with agarose solution (takes 1-2 minutes)

Specimen tubes can be versatile!

Our specimen tubes are made of stainless steel, which a “white plunger” to which you can glue your tissue sample. Specimen tubes come in several sizes:

Did you know that you can use the Compresstome® to section both live/acute and fixed tissue? To prevent lived/fixed tissue contamination, you only need a specimen tube kit, which contains a buffer tray, specimen tubes, blade holder, and chilling block. All other components of the Compresstome® can remain the same without contamination in switching between fixed and live tissue cutting.

Specimen tubes come in 2 sizes
A “specimen tube kit” includes a buffer tray, 2 specimen tubes, blade holder, and chilling block.