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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Troubleshooting Guidance for Hematoxylin and Eosin (H&E) Stain. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Chatter in a stained section of intestine.

Skin tissue exploding on water bath

Suboptimal Section Quality

Sectioning often plays an essential role to achieve good quality stains. Thick and thin sections, chatter, "exploding" tissues, and floaters from the waterbath are all artifacts of sectioning that may negatively impact how the tissue picks up the stain.
Thick and thin sectioning is most often a result of poor technique at the cutting station due to uneven rotation of the microtome. Many laboratories now use automated sectioning on microtomes to not only reduce ergonomic injuries, but to provide consistently even sectioned slides.
Chatter and exploding sections are typically related to tissue processing. Chatter is a result of overprocessed/overly dehydrated tissue and "exploding" sections result from underprocessed/poorly infiltrated tissues.