Fixation and staining of planaria for histological study.

Biotechnic & histochemistry : official publication of the Biological Stain Commission

PubMedID: 7548433

DiCiaula LL, Foley GL, Schaeffer DJ. Fixation and staining of planaria for histological study. Biotech Histochem. 1995;70(3):119-23.
Fixation and staining of planaria can affect the interpretation of histopathological changes following their exposure to various agents. We assessed several fixation protocols with various stains in planaria to determine an optimal combination. Planaria were fixed in each of the following: 10% neutral buffered formalin, 2.5%, glutaraldehyde, Bouin's, Zenker's, 70% ethanol, and relaxant. In addition, planaria were fixed in relaxant and postfixed in each of the fixatives above. Paraffin embedded sections from each fixation protocol were stained with hematoxylin and eosin (H & E), toluidine blue, periodic acid-Schiff (PAS), or phosphotungstic acid-hematoxylin (PTAH). Relaxant fixed planaria were also stained with Steiner's, Holmes, trichrome, Giemsa, Grocott's methenamine silver (GMS) and antibodies for intermediate filaments (cytokeratin, vimentin and desmin). Relaxant and Zenker's gave the best fixation with minimal artifacts. Formalin, glutaraldehyde, and ethanol were unacceptable because they caused contortions of the body, crenation, and a darkly pigmented epidermis. Gastroderm could be differentiated from stroma best when stained with H & E, toluidine blue and PTAH. Other organ systems differentially stained included the epidermis, marginal adhesion gland, nervous tissue, and muscle. PAS, Steiner's, Holmes, trichrome and the intermediate filament stains were not useful for planaria staining. The most morphological information was obtained with relaxant fixative and a combination of sections stained with H & E and PTAH.