Alternatives to Animal Testing and Experimentation
Online ISSN : 2185-4726
Print ISSN : 1344-0411
ISSN-L : 1344-0411
Original Articles
A Novel Fixation Method for Gross Anatomy of Rats using Farmer's Fixative in Student Anatomical Practice
Ryuji KawabataMichiko Sakamoto
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2017 Volume 22 Issue 2 Pages 167-176


Human anatomy, physiology and biochemistry are categorized as one of the fundamental subjects for basic medical science, and students aiming for medical or paramedical field must learn them thoroughly at a relatively early phase in training school. The anatomy is especially a severe subject for many students because of its difficulties to image three-dimensional (3D) structure of the human body. Anatomical dissection of laboratory animals such as mouse or rat is one of the powerful approach to learn the anatomical 3D structure and must be an essential, irreplaceable experience for students. In order to observe more detail, fixation techniques are often used. In general, formaldehyde (formalin) is widely employed to fix animal specimens. However, because of the toxicity of formalin for human body or environment, it is not suitable for student's experiment and/or practice. In this report, we used more safety and less harmful animal fixation method than above mentioned traditional one by exchanging of fixation liquid to "Farmer's fixative". This liquid consists of ethanol and acetic acid (ethanol:acetic acid; 3:1, v:v). Although, this liquid usually used in fixation for plants or cultured cells, we applied in the whole animal body and evaluated for usage of student's anatomy practice in rat. In this report, we evaluated the quality or appearance of animals or tissues fixed by this method and showed that it can be fixed sufficiently necessary for detailed observation or dissection of various organ systems of rat. Thus, we propose that this method can be applied enough for the anatomy practice of rats for students aiming for medical or paramedical field. Furthermore, since this method can be used repeatedly for dissection training without scarifying new experimental living animals, it is possible to realize "Reduction" in 3Rs.

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