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Journal of Histology
Volume 2013, Article ID 643670, 5 pages
Research Article

Chemical Separation of Fixed Tissue Using Thermolysin

1Center for Translational Injury Research (CeTIR), Department of Surgery, University of Texas-Houston, 6413 Fannin Street, Houston, TX 77034, USA
2Department of Surgery, Duke University, Durham, NC 27707, USA

Received 12 June 2013; Revised 16 July 2013; Accepted 16 July 2013

Academic Editor: Francesco Cappello

Copyright © 2013 Anahita Dua and Sapan S. Desai. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Thermolysin is a metallopeptidase used to cleave peptide bonds at specific junctions. It has previously been used to cleave specific amino acid sequences found at the junction of the sensory epithelium and underlying stroma of unfixed otolithic organs of the vestibular system. We have used thermolysin to separate sensory epithelium from the underlying stroma in fixed cristae ampullares of mouse, rat, gerbil, guinea pig, chinchilla, and tree squirrel, thus removing the saddle-shaped curvature of the sensory organ and creating a flattened sensory epithelium preparation. This permits visualization of the entire sensory organ in a single mount and facilitates proper morphometric analysis.