Hypothesis: Thin-sheet laser imaging microscopy (TSLIM) optical sectioning can be used to assess temporal bone soft tissue morphology before celloidin sectioning.
Background: Traditional human temporal bone (TB) celloidin embedding and sectioning is a lengthy and involved process. Although bone morphology can be assessed with microCT before traditional histology, soft tissue structures are difficult to resolve until after celloidin sectioning. A potential solution is TSLIM, a high-resolution, nondestructive optical sectioning technique first developed to image bone and soft tissue in animal cochleae.
Methods: Two temporal bones from 1 individual were used to evaluate TSLIM’s capacity to image human temporal bones (bone and soft tissue) before traditional histology. The right TB was trimmed to the cochlea, prepared for and imaged with TSLIM, then processed for celloidin sectioning. The left TB, serving as a control, was directly prepared for traditional celloidin sectioning.
Results: TSLIM imaging of the right TB showed adequate resolution of all major tissue structures but barely resolved cells. Celloidin sections produced from the TSLIM-imaged right TB were equivalent in cytologic detail to those from the traditionally prepared left TB. TSLIM 3-dimensional (3D) reconstructions were superior to those obtained from celloidin sections because TSLIM produced many more sections that were without mechanical sectioning artifacts or alignment issues.
Conclusion: TSLIM processing disturbs neither gross nor detailed morphology and integrates well with celloidin histology, making it an ideal method to image soft tissue before celloidin sectioning.