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Microscopy with ultraviolet surface excitation for rapid slide-free histology.


Histologic examination of tissues is central to the diagnosis and management of neoplasms and many other diseases, and is a foundational technique for preclinical and basic research. However, commonly used bright-field microscopy requires prior preparation of micrometre-thick tissue sections mounted on glass slides, a process that can require hours or days, that contributes to cost, and that delays access to critical information. Here, we introduce a simple, non-destructive slide-free technique that within minutes provides high-resolution diagnostic histological images resembling those obtained from conventional haematoxylin-and-eosin-histology. The approach, which we named microscopy with ultraviolet surface excitation (MUSE), can also generate shape and colour-contrast information. MUSE relies on ~280-nm ultraviolet light to restrict the excitation of conventional fluorescent stains to tissue surfaces, and it has no significant effects on downstream molecular assays (including fluorescence in situ hybridization and RNA-seq). MUSE promises to improve the speed and efficiency of patient care in both state-of-the-art and low-resource settings, and to provide opportunities for rapid histology in research.

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