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Immunology and Infection

Using Robotic Systems to Process and Embed Colonic Murine Samples for Histological Analyses

Published: January 7th, 2019



1Pathology Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Cà Granda, Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, 2Department of Experimental Oncology, European Institute of Oncology, 3Gastroenterology and Endoscopy Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Cà Granda, Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, 4Department of Pathophysiology and Transplantation, Università degli Studi di Milano
* These authors contributed equally

Lack of standardization for murine tissue processing reduces the quality of murine histopathological analysis as compared to human specimens. Here, we present a protocol to perform histopathological examination of murine inflamed and uninflamed colonic tissues to show the feasibility of robotic systems routinely used for processing and embedding human samples.

The understanding of human diseases has been greatly expanded thanks to the study of animal models. Nonetheless, histopathological evaluation of experimental models needs to be as rigorous as that applied for human samples. Indeed, drawing reliable and accurate conclusions is critically influenced by the quality of tissue section preparation. Here, we describe a protocol for histopathological analysis of murine tissues that implements several automated steps during the procedure, from the initial preparation to the paraffin embedding of the murine samples. The reduction of methodological variables through rigorous protocol standardization from automated procedures contributes to increased overall reliability of murine pathological analysis. Specifically, this protocol describes the utilization of automated processing and embedding robotic systems, routinely used for the tissue processing and paraffin embedding of human samples, to process murine specimens of intestinal inflammation. We conclude that the reliability of histopathological examination of murine tissues is significantly increased upon introduction of standardized and automated techniques.

In the last decades, several experimental models have been developed to dissect the pathogenic mechanisms leading to human diseases1,2. In order to assess the severity of a disease, researchers must evaluate the effect of a treatment and study the cytological and histological architectural variations or the amount of inflammation3. To perform on those experimental models, detailed histopathological analyses are needed, often comparing murine and human samples4,5.

Additionally, human samples are common....

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Animal procedures were approved by the Italian Ministry of Health (Auth. 127/15, 27/13) and followed the animal care guidelines of the European Institute of Oncology IACUC (Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee)

1. Chronic Colitis Induction by Repetitive DSS Administration

  1. Separate age and sex matched mice in 2 groups (treatment DSS vs. control H2O, at least 5 mice littermates per experimental group).
  2. Administer 2.5% DSS (40 kDa) in the drinking water for.......

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Experimental chronic colitis induced by repeated administration of DSS in the drinking water is a murine model of intestinal inflammation closely resembling human IBD8,9. Figure 1 describes the effects of DSS treatment, including colon shortening (Figure 1A), a widely-used parameter to score the presence of DSS-induced inflammation, and colonic expression of pro-inflammat.......

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We utilize different automated steps during the preparation of murine tissues for histopathologic analysis. This protocol aims at providing technical hints to increase the reproducibility and the standardization of the whole process, thus enhancing the overall quality of the final histopathological evaluation. We implemented automated instruments and methods for the preparation and embedding of tissues, routinely used in pathology core facilities for the study of human specimens.

To demonstrat.......

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We thank the department of Pathology of the IRCCS Policlinico Hospital, Milan for technical support and the IEO Animal Facility for assistance in animal husbandry.


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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
Absolute Ethanol anhydrous Carlo Erba 414605 reagent
Absolute ETOH Honeywell 02860-1L reagent
Aluminium Potassium Sulfate SIGMA A6435 reagent
Aniline Blue SIGMA 415049 reagent
carbol Fuchsin SIGMA C4165 reagent
CD11b (clone M1/70) TONBO biosciences 35-0112-U100 antibody
CD20 IHC (clone SA275A11) Biolegend 150403 antibody
CD3 (17A2) TONBO biosciences 35-0032-U100 antibody
CD4 (GK1.5) BD Biosciences 552051 antibody
CD45.2 (clone 104) BioLegend 109837 antibody
CD8 (53-6.7) BD Biosciences 553031 antibody
Citrate Buffer pH 6 10X SIGMA C9999 reagent
Dab Vector Laboratories SK-4100 reagent
DPBS 1X Microgem L0615-500 reagent
DSS TdB Consultancy DB001 reagent
EDTA SIGMA E9884 reagent
EnVision Flex Peroxidase-Blocking Reagent DAKO compreso in GV80011-2
EnVision Flex Substrate DAKO compreso in GV80011-2
EnVision Flex/HRP DAKO compreso in GV80011-2
EnVision Flex+ Rat Linker DAKO compreso in GV80011-2
Eosin VWR 1.09844 reagent
F4/80 (clone BM8) BioLegend 123108 antibody
Formalin PanReac 2,529,311,215 reagent
glacial acetic acid SIGMA 71251 reagent
Goat-anti-Rat-HRP Agilent DAKO P0448 antibody
Haematoxylin DIAPATH C0303 reagent
LEICA Rotary microtome (RM2255) Leica RM2255 equipment
Ly6g (clone 1A8) BD Biosciences 551459 antibody
Mercury II Oxide SIGMA 203793 reagent
Omnis Clearify Clearing Agent DAKO CACLEGAL reagent
Omnis EnVision Flex TRS DAKO GV80011-2 reagent
Orange G SIGMA O3756 reagent
Paraffin Sakura 7052 reagent
Peloris LEICA equipment
Percoll SIGMA P4937 reagent
RPMI 1640 without L-Glutamine Microgem L0501-500 reagent
STS020 Leica equipment
Tissue-Teck Paraform Sectionable Cassette SAKURA 7022 equipment
Tissue-Tek Automated paraffin embedder Sakura equipment
Xylene J.T.Baker 8080.1000 reagent

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