Improve spinal cord and brain slice preparation with the Compresstome® vibratome
For many of you who are devoted to pain research, it’s likely that you need to make tissue slices of the brain or spinal cord. What do you use for making healthy lives slices for electrophysiology ? What do you use for creating smooth, thin sections for immuno?
Compresstome® tissue slicers are affordable, compact, and produce healthier live spinal cord slices compared to other market vibratomes. Explore our product line here.
We’d like to introduce you to a revolutionary tissue slicer, called the Compresstome®, which is designed, patented and manufactured by Precisionary Instrusments in Boston, MA. Visit us at www.precisionary.com to explore the entire product line of Compresstomes®. If you mention this blog in your quote request, we will give a discount!
Who are we?
We are creators of the Compresstome® and are scientists and engineers in neuroscience research. This tissue slicer was made to help researchers obtain better quality slices for live and fixed tissue. In neurobiology, the Compresstome® has been used to successfully slice:
- Brain tissue (fixed and fresh)
- Spinal cord (fixed and fresh)
- Muscle (fixed and fresh)
In particular, our Compresstome® has been used by neuroscientists around the world for cutting brain and spinal cord tissue. We partner with the Allen Institute for brain research. You can find out more about methods and recipes from BrainSliceMethods:
What makes the Compresstome® tissue slicer so beneficial to pain research?
The Compresstome® is one of the highest quality tissue slicers on the market. You can achieve slice thickness ranging from 4 µm – 1000 µm for fresh or fixed tissue. Both fresh and fixed tissue can be cut with one machine—the buffer tray and blade holders are interchangeable. Here are some additional key features of the Compresstome®:
- High quality slices: variety of oscillation and speed settings helps cut through fibrous spinal cord and brainstem slices
- Agarose embedding: Easy and quick protocol that prevents tissue shearing.
- Improved slice health: Highest cell count on fresh tissue for electrophysiology.
- Chattermark free: Smoother sections for better immunohistochemistry stains.
- Fully automated: Serial sectioning results in the fastest cutting experience. Cuts 5X faster than other market vibratomes.
- Cost: Most affordable vibratomes on the market. Contact us for a quote and we’ll give you a discount if you mention this post on Pain Researcher!
- Rental Program: We are the only vibratome company to offer rent-to-own or monthly lease of the Compresstome® so that you can test it out on experiments before committing to buy.
Acute brain slice from an 18-month-old mouse made with the Compresstome® VF-300-0Z slicer, showing numerous healthy neurons for patch-clamp electrophysiology.
Mouse hippocampus slice made with the Compresstome® VF-300-0Z slicer. Smooth, even surfaces allow for the best immunohistochemistry staining.
We Support Pain Research!
We are a group of scientists and engineers at Precisionary Instruments who highly value neuroscience research. We understand that electrophysiology is challenging, so we designed the Compresstome® to yield fresh, healthy tissue slices with a greater number of live neurons for your experiments. To cut fixed tissue, the slicer is appropriate for immunohistochemistry and in-situ hybridization.
To support you, we have developed protocols for slicing spinal cord and brain tissue (both fixed and live slices). Check them out here:
- Protocol for sectioning fixed brain
- Protocol for sectioning live brain
- Protocol for sectioning spinal cord
- Protocol for sectioning muscle
In addition, we have a full list of references where labs have used the Compresstome® to successfully complete their research.
Finally, we have a full line of training videos to help you see the Compresstome® in action, and to help you get started: https://precisionary.com/training-videos/
How do we compare to other market vibratomes? See the difference!
One of the most frequently asked questions that we get is: “What is the advantage of the Compresstome® compared to other slicers?” The vast majority of the time, our customers are on the fence about purchasing either a Compresstome® or another market vibrating microtome.
We want to provide you with some empirical research and tests we ran in the lab to visually show how the results of tissue cut with the Compresstome® compare to sections made with another leading vibrating microtome on the market.
For our experiments, we took fixed brains from adult mice and cut 50-µm thick sections using a Compresstome® VF-300-0Z slicer. The sections we got are shown as follows:
Slices cut with the Compresstome® VF-300-0Z vibratome
These images were taken at low magnification image (10X) with a bright field microscope at the edge of mouse brain tissue. Note that the edges are even, without curling or unevenly cut thicknesses (A). In panel (B), we took images at higher magnification (40X) of another brain region depicting a close-up view of the tissue edge using the emboss filter, which best shows the 3D surface characteristics. The Compresstome® helps preserve tissue architecture, and the agarose embedding material does not infiltrate the tissue. The surface of the tissue has even texture, with no chattermarks, and remains smooth for immunohistochemical staining.
Now, we also sectioned 50-µm thick brain slices from the same aged mouse using a leading market brand vibrating microtome. For the comparison we set the cutting parameters to the same oscillation of 4.0 as that used on the Compresstome® VF-300-0Z, and speed settings of 5.0 - 7.0 which were equivalent in speed to that used with the Compresstome. Here are the results:
Slices cut with another market vibratome
Although we got workable slices for immunohistochemistry, we noticed that the edges were uneven in many sections (panels A and B). There was a gradient of tissue thickness, which only was resolved with much slower cutting speeds. Often, we got “thick & thin” alternating slices.
The biggest difference between slices made with the Compresstome® and the other microtome was found at high magnification—chattermarks! “Chattermarks” are also known as vibrating artifacts, and appear as little ripples on the slice surface. This “rippling” effect results in uneven protein staining during immunological processes, and is to be avoided. Explore the rest of the results here.
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