Ultrastructural histochemistry in biomedical research: Alive and kicking
The high-resolution images provided by the electron microscopy has constituted a limitless source of information in any research field of life and materials science since the early Thirties of the last century. Browsing the scientific literature, electron microscopy was especially popular from the 1970’s to 80’s, whereas during the 90’s, with the advent of innovative molecular techniques, electron microscopy seemed to be downgraded to a subordinate role, as a merely descriptive technique. Ultrastructural histochemistry was crucial to promote the Renaissance of electron microscopy, when it became evident that a precise localization of molecules in the biological environment was necessary to fully understand their functional role. Nowadays, electron microscopy is still irreplaceable for ultrastructural morphology in basic and applied biomedical research, while the application of correlative light and electron microscopy and of refined ultrastructural histochemical techniques gives electron microscopy a central role in functional cell and tissue biology, as a really unique tool for high-resolution molecular biology in situ.
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