ABSTRACT: Renal biopsy paraffin sections were examined by low vacuum scanning electron microscopy (LVSEM) in the backscattered electron (BSE) mode, a novel method for rapid pathological analysis which allowed detailed and efficient three-dimensional observations of glomeruli. Renal samples that had been already diagnosed by light microscopy (LM) as exhibiting IgA nephropathy, minor glomerular abnormalities, and membranous glomerulonephritis (GN) were rapidly processed in the present study. Unstained paraffin sections of biopsy samples on glass slides were deparaffinized, stained with platinum blue (Pt-blue) or periodic acid silver-methenamine (PAM), and directly observed with a LVSEM. Overviews of whole sections and detailed observations of individual glomeruli were immediately performed at arbitrary magnifications between ×50 to ×18,000. Cut surface views and surface views of glomeruli were demonstrated at the same time. On Pt-blue-stained sections, podocytes, endothelia, mesangium, and glomerular basement membranes (GBMs) could be distinguished due to the different yields of BSE signals, and pathological features were investigated in every sample. The abnormal surface appearances of podocytes with foot processes and the varying thicknesses of GBM were revealed three-dimensionally, features difficult to observe under LM and transmission electron microscopy. PAM-positive GBM alterations in membranous GN were distinctly visualized through overlying cells without cell removal under LVSEM at high magnification. Not only prominent spike formation but also slight protrusions were clearly revealed in the side views of GBM. Crater-like or hole-like structures were shown in the en face views of GBM. Accordingly, LVSEM is expected to provide a novel approach to the pathological diagnosis of human glomerular diseases using conventional renal biopsy sections.
Archives of Histology and Cytology 01/2010; 73(3):113-25. · 0.57 Impact Factor