Three-Dimensional Visualization of the Aorta and Elastic Cartilage after Removal of Extracellular Ground Substance with a Modified NaOH Maceration Method
A modified NaOH maceration method for removing extracellular ground substance was applied to scanning electron microscopic (SEM) studies of the mammalian aorta and elastic cartilage. Fixed tissues were freeze-fractured in liquid nitrogen and then immersed in 2N NaOH solution for 4-6 hr at room temperature. Since this method selectively digested proteoglycans, cellular and fibrous elements were observable clearly under the SEM. The elastic laminae of smooth muscle cells of the aortic tunica media were concealed by fine collagen fibrils, while chondrocytes in the elastic cartilage were encapsulated by a dense network of fine collagen fibrils and branching elastin fibers.
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