We have also noticed something interesting while working with cell cultures and small biological samples: after being Ln-stained they practically stop losing water and retain their natural shape even at high vacuum. Within the next few hours we observe neither sample contraction, nor surface cracks, nor any other possible artifacts!
Why this occurs is not entirely clear. We can suppose that, with most of cellular transport systems inhibited by lanthanoids, membranes’ permeability decreases and static potentials are generated on protein molecules preventing structured water from leaving the cell.
Thus, lanthanoids can rightly be regarded as a gentle contrast agent able to make the process of visualization easier and more practical.
We have significantly modified the previous Ln-staining method so that it could meet the requirements of modern technologies. For your convenience, we have also made up an easy-to-use reagent kit.