Publication Type:Journal Article
Source:J Vis Exp, Issue 122 (2017)
Despite all the technological advances at the light microscopy level, electron microscopy remains the only tool in neuroscience to examine and characterize ultrastructural and morphological details of neurons, such as synaptic contacts. Good preservation of brain tissue for electron microscopy can be obtained by rigorous cryo-fixation methods, but these techniques are rather costly and limit the use of immunolabeling, which is crucial to understand the connectivity of identified neuronal systems. Freeze-substitution methods have been developed to allow the combination of cryo-fixation with immunolabeling. However, the reproducibility of these methodological approaches usually relies on costly freezing devices. Moreover, achieving reliable results with this technique is very time-consuming and skill-challenging. Hence, the traditional chemically fixed brain, particularly with acrolein fixative, remains a time-efficient and low-cost method to combine electron microscopy with immunohistochemistry. Here, we provide a reliable experimental protocol using chemical acrolein fixation that leads to the preservation of primate brain tissue and is compatible with pre-embedding immunohistochemistry and transmission electron microscopic examination.