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Nanoparticles and pop-off technique for electron microscopy: A known technique for a new purpose

: Lehmbecker, Annika; Rittinghausen, Susanne; Rohn, Kerstin; Baumgärtner, Wolfgang; Schaudien, Dirk


Toxicologic Pathology 42 (2014), Nr.6, S.1041-1046
ISSN: 0192-6233
ISSN: 1533-1601
Fraunhofer ITEM ()
energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy; nanopathology; nanotoxicology; pop-off technique; electron microscopy; nanoparticles

Because of the size of the nanoparticles, their detection and exact anatomical localization in tissue samples are very difficult. Consequently, suitable methods are needed to prove their presence, especially co-localized to histological lesions. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate whether nanoparticles were detectable in specimens after reprocessing samples from glass slides using the pop-off technique. Tissue slides containing agglomerates of titanium dioxide nanoparticles already visible on a light microscopic level and amorphous silicium dioxide (SiO2) particles not observable in tissue slides were reprocessed. Furthermore, cytospots of bronchoalveolar lavage acquired from rats that previously inhaled carbon nanotubes were used. After reprocessing the samples, they were investigated using transmission electron microscopy. In all the reprocessed samples, the respective nanoparticles were detectable. Even the light microscopically invisible amorphous SiO2 particles were observed as electron dense structures. Titanium and silicium were additionally confirmed in the respective nanoparticles by energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX). In summary, the pop-off technique represents a fast and easy way to detect nanoparticles in histological sections. This enables further characterization of these particles by additional techniques such as EDX, and their direct correlation with light microscopic lesions at exactly the same location is investigated.