The influence of solvent dielectric constant on the thickness of the glomerular basement membrane
Lewis, Helen Jayne
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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A recent study (Edwards, 2006) has suggested that the choice of solvent used in preparing specimens for transmission electron microscopy (TEM) can affect tissue shrinkage, and that the degree of shrinkage might be related to the dielectric constant of the solvent. To further investigate this observation, the range of solvents used in the original study has been extended and the thickness of the glomerular basement membrane of the kidney is used as an indicator of tissue shrinkage. The three different intermediate solvents used were acetonitrile, dimethylsulfoxide, and tetrahydrofuran, as well as the control treatment group of acetone. The glomerular basement membrane, showed shrinkage in all three of the solvents, although acetonitrile, dielectric constant of 36.2, and tetrahydrofuran, dielectric constant 7.58, had much less shrinkage than dimethylsulfoxide, dielectric constant 49. Evaluation of the glomerular basement membrane in intermediate solvents with different dielectric constants, does have an effect on the appearance of the GBM, and can cause a considerable amount of shrinkage, which can cause misinterpretation of a diagnosis.
BSc (Hons) Biomedical Sciences
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