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Histology can be defined as the study of the microscopic anatomy of cells and tissues of plants and animals.
The microscopic study of diseased tissue is known as histopathology. It is commonly performed by examining cells and tissues by fixation, processing, sectioning and staining, which is followed by examination under a light microscope or electron microscope. Fixation is done to preserve tissue from degradation, to maintain the structure of the cell and of sub-cellular components such as cell organelles by using fixatives which differs for light and electron microscopy. Formaldehyde in phosphate buffered saline is a common fixative for light microscopy and for electron microscopy glutaraldehyde in phosphate buffered saline is used. Processing is mainly done to remove the water from tissues and replace with a medium that solidifies to allow thin sections to be cut. Sectioning follows processing in which a steel knife mounted in a microtome is used to cut tissue sections which are mounted on a glass slide, for light microscopy and for electron microscopy a diamond knife mounted in an ultramicrotome is used to cut tissue sections mounted on a copper grid. Then the mounted sections are treated with the appropriate stain for visualisation".
Last date updated on July, 2014