AAT Bioquest

What is the purpose of cell fixation?

Posted December 8, 2022


Cell fixation is a laboratory process that is used to preserve tissues, cells, and subcellular components as close as possible to their living state. It is carried out immediately after removing the tissue after surgical pathology or immediately after death in order to prevent autolysis. Cell fixation is used extensively in the fields of cell biology, histology, and pathology. 

In the absence of fixation, essential cell components such as protein, membrane and intracellular structures get dehydrated or degraded, causing the cells to collapse or get altered in other ways. This makes it impossible for researchers to study biological tissues. Cell fixation prevents autolysis, putrefaction and other unexpected changes, and preserves essential physical and chemical characteristics of the cells. This allows researchers to prepare thin, stained sections of the biological tissues, enabling them to study the structure of the tissues more closely.

Additional resources

Optimization of fixation methods for observation of bacterial cell morphology and surface ultrastructures by atomic force microscopy

ReadiUse™ 4% formaldehyde fixation solution

Buffers and Lab Consumables