The Histochemical Journal

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 87–104 | Cite as

The effect of fixative tonicity on the myosin filament lattice volume of frog muscle fixed following exposure to normal or hypertonic Ringer

  • D. F. Davey


Frog sartorius muscles have been fixed sequentially with acrolein and osmium tetroxide dissolved in vehicles of various tonicities, and the myosin filament spacings and sarcomere lengths measured with the electron microscope. From these dimensions the myosin unit-cell volume has been calculated and compared with X-ray diffraction data to determine the effect of fixation. In muscles soaked in normal Ringer and afterwards fixed using normal Ringer as a vehicle for the fixation agents, the unitcell volume undergoes a 10.4% reduction during the preparative procedure. Muscles soaked in hypertonic Ringer undergo a similar reduction in volume during fixation, provided hypertonic Ringer is used as the vehicle; if they are fixed in normal Ringer, the lattice swells during fixation, even if the change to the normal tonicity vehicle occurs after acrolein fixation. If blocks suitable for embedding are cut from the muscles before, rather than after, osmium fixation, more complex changes in intracellular dimensions may occur, including artefactual swelling of the T-system. It is concluded that fixation of tissues exposed to modifications of normal physiological solutions should be performed using the same modified solutions as fixative vehicles.


Acrolein Osmium Tetroxide Ringer Solution Sarcomere Length Lattice Volume 
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Copyright information

© Chapman and Hall Ltd 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. F. Davey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of BristolUK

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