Histopathology Core


June 6, 2018

Precision is Key to Histopathology Core
MMCRI’s Histopathology Core Facility Uses Precision to Unlock Details about Abnormal Cells & Diseases

Sectioning tissue blocks, staining slides, and applying antibodies conjures up a vision of delicate and labor intensive processes.   Indeed this work requires a special skill set and is at the heart of the Histopathology Core Facility at Maine Medical Center Research Institute (MMCRI).

Dr. Lindner, Director of the Histopathology Core, observes Armie Mangoba, Technology Manager sectioning a tissue block.

Histology is defined as the study of microscopic structure of tissues.  This Core Facility looks at normal and diseased tissues to further aid in the understanding of current research in cancer, cardiovascular-, metabolic-, and other diseases.  The Histopathology Core was originally established through a grant from National Institute of General Medical Sciences in early 2002.  Since then this facility has grown and is comprised of two full-time employees and a Core Director, Volkhard Lindner, MD, PhD, and Faculty Scientist at MMCRI.

“The work we do is relatively low-tech; however it is very precise, in-depth, and manual in nature, “said Dr. Lindner, Director of the Histopathology Core.   Most of this Core Facility work comes from either MMCRI Laboratories or external clients from Maine Medical Center’s BioBank and other external biomedical research entities.

Processing tissues, sectioning tissue blocks and staining slides is only a part of the focus for this Core Facility.  The Core also offers immunohistochemistry and immunocytochemistry.  Immunohistochemistry (IHC) is a tool used by clinicians and researchers to help diagnose or characterize a range of diseases by identifying abnormal cells, such as those in cancer.  IHC uses antibodies to detect proteins (antigens) that are specific to, or have altered expression in, abnormal cells within a tissue.  Immunocytochemistry uses the same techniques as IHC, however, on cells rather than tissue sections.

According to Dr. Lindner, “One of the more innovative aspects of the Core, is the ability to generate tissue arrays.”  This process allows for multiple tissue samples to be combined into one block so that one slide can be representative of up to 150 different specimens , giving researchers a powerhouse of information on a single slide and additionally can bring greater efficiency for the end user’s work.

Within the research facility are a designated histology suite, several microscopy stations equipped with digital image acquisition, and a confocal microscopy suite.

Services available:

Dr. Lindner applies an antibody to tissue sections.

• Tissue fixation, processing, embedding, and sectioning of paraffin-embedded and frozen specimens
• Plastic embedding and sectioning
• Routine histological stains (e.g., H&E, trichrome, and others);
• Special stains (e.g., Sirius Red, PAS, reticular fiber stain, Voerhoff’s elastic stain, von Kossa, Orcein, van Gieson, and many others)
• Immunohistochemistry, immunocytochemistry, histochemistry, etc.
• Customized characterization of antibodies for immunohistochemistry
• Special procedures (e.g., mammary gland whole mounts, en face preparations of arteries, etc.)
• Custom tissue microarrays
• Performs all histology related services for human specimens obtained through the BioBank at MMCRI

It would appear that the Histopathology Core’s outlook is a positive one. When asked about the future, Dr Lindner said, “Right now we are a busy facility and all indicators suggest there is a great need for this work in the future.”  For more information about the Histopathology Core at MMCRI, services, and pricing, please contact Dr. Lindner at lindnv@mmc.org or visit www.mmcri.org/histopathology.