3-D EM exploration of the hepatic microarchitecture - lessons learned from large-volume in situ serial sectioning

Gerald John Shami*, Delfine Cheng, Minh Huynh, Celien Vreuls, Eddie Wisse, Filip Braet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


To-date serial block-face scanning electron microscopy (SBF-SEM) dominates as the premier technique for generating three-dimensional (3-D) data of resin-embedded biological samples at an unprecedented depth volume. Given the infancy of the technique, limited literature is currently available regarding the applicability of SBF-SEM for the ultrastructural investigation of tissues. Herein, we provide a comprehensive and rigorous appraisal of five different SBF-SEM sample preparation protocols for the large-volume exploration of the hepatic microarchitecture at an unparalleled X, Y and Z resolution. In so doing, we qualitatively and quantitatively validate the use of a comprehensive SBF-SEM sample preparation protocol, based on the application of heavy metal fixatives, stains and mordanting agents. Employing the best-tested SBF-SEM approach, enabled us to assess large-volume morphometric data on murine parenchymal cells, sinusoids and bile canaliculi. Finally, we integrated the validated SBF-SEM protocol with a correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM) approach. The combination of confocal scanning laser microscopy and SBF-SEM provided a novel way to picture subcellular detail. We appreciate that this multidimensional approach will aid the subsequent research of liver tissue under relevant experimental and disease conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number36744
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2016

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