Embedding, serial sectioning and staining of zebrafish embryos using JB-4 resin

Nat Protoc. 2011 Jan;6(1):46-55. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2010.165. Epub 2010 Dec 16.


Histological techniques are critical for observing tissue and cellular morphology. In this paper, we outline our protocol for embedding, serial sectioning, staining and visualizing zebrafish embryos embedded in JB-4 plastic resin-a glycol methacrylate-based medium that results in excellent preservation of tissue morphology. In addition, we describe our procedures for staining plastic sections with toluidine blue or hematoxylin and eosin, and show how to couple these stains with whole-mount RNA in situ hybridization. We also describe how to maintain and visualize immunofluorescence and EGFP signals in JB-4 resin. The protocol we outline-from embryo preparation, embedding, sectioning and staining to visualization-can be accomplished in 3 d. Overall, we reinforce that plastic embedding can provide higher resolution of cellular details and is a valuable tool for cellular and morphological studies in zebrafish.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / anatomy & histology*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / chemistry
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / ultrastructure
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / analysis
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Microtomy / methods*
  • Plastic Embedding / methods*
  • Polymers
  • Staining and Labeling / methods
  • Zebrafish / embryology*


  • Polymers
  • enhanced green fluorescent protein
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins