The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 37: 85 - 87 (1993)

Vol 37, Issue 1

Special Issue: Developmental Aspects of Neoplasia

A peek at the future through histological preparations

Published: 1 March 1993

P K Nakane

Department of Anatomy, Nagasaki University School of Medicine, Japan.


When histologists and pathologists examine histological preparations, they can often predict the future of tissues that have not been excised from bodies. This is possible because, unlike chemical and physical matter, living organisms travel in time on a genetically mandated fixed path. To recognize a portion of the path that tissues have already traveled, histological methods such as histochemistry and immunohistochemistry are effective. In this regard the development of the peroxidase-labeled antibody method (Nakane and Pierce, J. Histochem. Cytochem. 14:929-931, 1966) contributed immensely. For the portion of path which cells and tissues were traveling when they were removed from bodies, the method of choice is localization of mRNA by in situ hybridization. Specific methods designed to predict the future path of tissues are still at the drawing board phase. However, by discerning the past and current portions of the path and by referring to the paths that other tissues have traveled, one may deduce the future path of the tissues in question. For some time now, it has been my dream to develop methods enabling us to peek at the future path of tissues more concretely. To accomplish this one requires new procedural approaches. Thus, we would like to introduce in situ nick translation and oligonucleotide histochemistry.

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