Electron microscopy (EM) is a highly specialized service offered by only a few laboratories in the US, including the MSU VDL. It allows the pathologist to examine the ultrastructure of cells and pathogens at magnifications up to 450,000 fold or more.

EM is commonly used to identify pathogens (especially novel ones) such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, and microsporidia. EM also helps to identify and characterize neoplastic cells and define cellular degenerative processes (particularly neurologic and renal diseases). For instance, many glomerulopathies cannot be identified without the benefit of EM.

Samples can be submitted formalin fixed; however, we prefer to work with glutaraldehyde if especially high-quality images are needed. Small samples (<2-3 mm in diameter) are ideal, but larger samples (up to 3 cm) may be submitted and they will be trimmed in our laboratory. We can also work with previously paraffin-embedded tissue at an additional cost; however, diagnostic success may be compromised. Negative staining of samples and scanning EM can also be performed—please contact the lab for further information and pricing for these services.

For each case, two “thin” sections will be produced and examined by our team of highly experienced pathologists and representative digital images will be provided to the submitter. Typically, initial results are available within two weeks of submission.

Please see our catalog of available tests for pricing and additional information or call the laboratory at 517.353.1683.