JCDSA  Vol.3 No.2 , June 2013
Reduction and Block Staining of Human Hair Shafts and Insect Cuticles by Ammonium Thioglycolate to Enhance Transmission Electron Microscopic Observations

We have developed a method where, after glutaraldehyde fixation, human hair shafts and insect cuticles are treated with ammonium thioglycolate (ATG) to improve ultrastructural staining. Conventional transmission electron microscopic (TEM) preparations do not distinguish the A-layer and the exocuticles of hair shafts. However, after ATG treatment, the A-layer appears in higher contrast. ATG treatment has also been used to observe the fibrillar structure in the cortex. In the cuticle of beetles, the epicuticle is stained by ATG. Although the human hair shaft (keratin) and insect cuticle (chitin) are composed of different materials, both can be reduced by the ATG solution. The ammonium in the ATG solution reacts with hair shafts and insect cuticles, causing a reduction of swelled cuticles. Therefore, ATG not only stains, but also reduces human hair shafts and the cuticles of beetles.

Cite this paper: S. Sato, Y. Sasaki, A. Adachi and T. Omi, "Reduction and Block Staining of Human Hair Shafts and Insect Cuticles by Ammonium Thioglycolate to Enhance Transmission Electron Microscopic Observations," Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications, Vol. 3 No. 2, 2013, pp. 157-161. doi: 10.4236/jcdsa.2013.32025.

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