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NeuroScience Associates

Large Format™ Technology


The embedding and sectioning of large brains is achieved utilizing many of the principles of MultiBrain® Technology (How Does it Work). This Large Format™ Technology enables NSA to section large intact brains continuously without the need to subdivide into slabs or cubes – no interruptions to the anatomy!  Below are images of brains from relatively small species routinely processed by NSA on 2”x 3” slides, typically sectioned at 40µ, shown with Nissl staining.





Large Format™ Technology including Human Brain Hemispheres

For larger brains, a specially designed stage and a modified hydraulically driven microtome are used, resulting in 3”x 5” slides for grizzly bear brains, and for human brain hemispheres. Large sections such as these are typically cut at 60–80µ and are mounted by NSA intact on a single slide.

largeformatsectioningKey preparation elements for successfully processing human and other large brains (see for more specific, up-to-date information)

  • Minimize the time from death until formaldehyde fixation.
  • At brain removal, perfuse fix through the vasculature.
  • Store the brain in a large volume (5-10X brain volume) of buffered formaldehyde and/or change regularly.
  • NEVER FREEZE the tissue.

NSA works with tissue in a variety of conditions, but best results are achieved using the guidelines above.

Contact NSA to discuss your specific needs.


  • There is uniformity of staining and section thickness across the entire intact section of the human brain hemisphere.
  • For stereology, only intact, adjacent sections yield sampling that is compliant with stereologic principles.
  • The inclusion of adjacent structures on the same slide provides anatomical coherence and a comprehensive perspective of the brain, even when a small area of the brain is the focus.







Pictured is a section from a human brain stained with thionine to reveal cell bodies, including magnification.





Tissue Resources for Researchers

NSA can provide recommendations for organizations that bank human brain tissue with specific characteristics (disease, genetic traits, etc.). Some organizations offer specified tissue for purchase. Other organizations grant requested tissue to researchers that fulfill certain requirements, such as use for research or educational purposes.