Decalcifying Boney Tissue for Histological Examination

Related Core Facilities:

Friday 06/03/2011

Bone samples (femurs, ribs, sternum, etc) must be decalcified before they are paraffin processed in order to produce quality sections. Decalcification can be done with chelating agents, such as EDTA, or with acids, such as formic acid. These procedures can damage cellular morphology and antigenicity and can be detrimental for evaluating marrow or performing immunohistochemistry. For this reason, decalcification must be monitored very closely. In addition, tissue must be rinsed extensively after decalcification to remove residual acid.

Experimental Histopathology has a number of protocols and new reagents available to ensure that your samples are not damaged. Please consult with staff about the best protocol for your tissue. When in doubt, please completely fix your tissue in 10% formalin for 5 days with a 1:15 volume tissue: fixative.

You are more than welcome to deliver bones in formalin and we can take care of the decalcification for you. We do charge a small fee which covers the cost of the decalcification reagent that we use. Please write on the request sheet whether you have decaled the bone or if the bones require decalcification.