Renal Pathology - Handling Instructions


Sample: Renal Biopsy

Principle: Medical diseases of the kidney are often diagnosed with the aid of renal biopsies. The tissue diagnosis is rendered with the aid of light microscopy, electron microscopy, and immunofluorescence.

Safety: Universal precautions are to be used when handling all fresh tissue.

Procedure: There are three options for preparing and sending renal biopsy material for Immunofluorescence:

Method I (Use for transport times not to exceed 2 hours)

  • Place the biopsy in saline-moistened gauze inside a sealed Petri dish or in a vial containing saline.
  • Place the Petri dish in ice in an insulated box and send via the fastest method.

Method II (Use for transport times greater than two hours, non expert personnel)

  1. Place biopsy in Michel's transport medium (also called Zeus medium) in a small, tightly closed specimen container. (vial with pink label)
  2. Place the container in cold pack in an insulated box and send.

This medium will preserve tissue adequately for all studies, including immunofluorescence studies. Material will be fine for a few days as long as it is kept cold.

Method III (For experienced personnel only) BEST OF ALL!

An experienced person may divide the kidney biopsy for light microscopy, immunofluorescence and electron microscopy studies. If there one or more cores of tissue, all cortex, cut a 0.3 cm fragment for IF, a 0.2 cm fragment for EM, and place the rest in formalin. If there is a small amount of cortex take a 0.2 cm fragment for IF and submit the rest for light microscopy.

  1. The piece for light microscopy should be placed in formalin. (vial with white label)
  2. The piece for EM should be placed in cold 3% glutaraldehyde. (vial with green label)
  3. The piece for IF should be sent in Michel's transport medium (also called Zeus medium) (vial with pink label)
  4. The piece for IF may also be submitted snap frozen in OCT. If so, it has to be kept frozen and transported on dry ice. The pieces for light microscopy and EM should be transported in a separate container on ice but not frozen. 

For all methods:

  • For shipping, please use regular cold packs, NOT dry ice. Frozen specimens will have a large amount of artifact and may not be interpretable.
  • Please include a form with clinical information for each specimen. We provide a standardized form for this purpose. 

Lab Hours: Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 6:00 p.m. Weekend biopsy interpretation is available upon request.