Effects of glutaraldehyde or osmium tetroxide fixation on the osmotic properties of lung cells

J Microsc. 1981 Nov;124(Pt 2):189-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2818.1981.tb00313.x.


The osmotic properties of lung cells have been tested before and after perfusion fixation of isolated, perfused lungs with either glutaraldehyde or osmium tetroxide. The testing procedure was to add hypertonic sucrose to the perfusate for several minutes and monitor the lung weight response (an 'osmotic transient'). Each lung was perfused with one or the other fixative solutions for 10 min, then the perfusate was changed back to Ringer-lactate before the post-fixation test was conducted. The results indicate that osmium tetroxide makes the cell membranes as permeable to sucrose as to water, and that sucrose thus causes no osmotic volume change. Glutaraldehyde, on the other hand, apparently preserves the impermeability of the cell membranes to sucrose, but the osmotic volume response is attenuated, indicating that significant changes in the cells have occurred.

MeSH terms

  • Aldehydes / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Fixatives / pharmacology*
  • Glutaral / pharmacology*
  • Lung / cytology
  • Lung / drug effects*
  • Osmium / pharmacology*
  • Osmium Tetroxide / pharmacology*
  • Rabbits
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance / drug effects


  • Aldehydes
  • Fixatives
  • Osmium
  • Osmium Tetroxide
  • Glutaral