Department of Histochemistry and Electron microscopy

Head of Department

RNDr. Barbara Szeiffová Bačová, PhD.


After the establishment of the Institute of Experimental Surgery in 1963, due to ongoing research in the field of valve replacements and heart transplantation, a morphological department was established as an integral part of the institute, which monitored histopathological changes in transplanted tissues.

Shortly after its establishment, there was a need to expand the spectrum of common examination methods, so the department was renamed the Department of Histochemistry and Electron Microscopy (1965).

The development of the department was facilitated from the beginning by international contacts and cooperation. Close cooperation was established with the Institut für Kreislaufforschung (Prof. A. Wollenberger, Prof. W. Schulze and Prof. G. Krause) in Berlin-Buch, with the UCLA Institute of Anatomy in Los Angels (Prof. D.C. Pease), with the Max Planck Institut für Herz- und Lungenforschung (W. and J. Schaper) in Bad Nauheim and with St. Boniface Hospital Research Center in Winnipeg (Prof. Dhalla and Prof. J.K Singal). Later, international collaborations were expanded with Tel Aviv University Medical School (Prof. M. Manoach), with Fukuoka University Medical School (Prof. I. Imagama, Prof. H. Kurahara) and with Universidad Nacional de Cuyo (Prof. E.R. Diez). Most of these collaborations are still active and more have been added.

The department and its representatives became part of the Czechoslovak histochemical society (Prof. Slezák – vice-chairman), later in 1990 the Slovak histochemical society (chairman Prof. Slezák and Dr. Tribulová). Prof Slezák was also a co-founder of the Czechoslovak Electron Microscopy Society and recently, due to the orientation of research within the department, the founder of the European Academy for Molecular Hydrogen Research in Biomedicine (2021).

The aim of scientific work at the department of histochemistry and electron microscopy is to interpret metabolic, physiological and pathophysiological changes at the level of tissue, cells and ultrastructure of the heart.


Basic research:
  • Study of the relationship between the structure and function of the heart and blood vessels under physiological and pathophysiological conditions imitating cardiovascular diseases (hypoxia, ischemia) and heart failure.
  • Investigation of subcellular structures, topology of selected proteins, intracellular and intercellular signaling in the pathogenesis of heart diseases and the formation of a proarrhythmogenic substrate to gain knowledge for targeted cardioprotection.
  • Study of communication links in the vessel wall during remodeling processes and atherosclerosis.
  • Study of the protection of heart muscle and blood vessels against damage through the modulation of communication by connexin channels.
  • Study of the protection of the heart against maladaptive remodeling of the extracellular matrix and revealing the mechanisms of its regression.
  • Study of the protection of the cardiovascular system against damage caused by bacterial endotoxin.
  • Investigation of selected factors that cause and influence the deformability of erythrocytes (nitric oxide, Na,K-ATPase, oxidative stress).
  • Study of the protection of the heart and blood vessels against ionizing radiation.
  • Study of changes caused by oxidative stress and the use of antioxidants, especially the selective antioxidant – molecular hydrogen, its pluripotent effect (anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic and anti-oxidative), and as a modulator of cell signaling.
Applied and translational research:
  • The department focuses its basic and translational research on the application of knowledge in clinical practice, which is evidenced by works focused on preclinical and clinical research (clinical trials – non-alcoholic steatosis of the liver – NAFLD, metabolic syndrome and heart transplantation).


  • Chronic models: pressure and volume overload of the heart, altered thyroid status, metabolic diseases (diabetes mellitus, hypertriglyceridemia, obesity), hypoxia, cardiac ischemia, myocardial infarction, systemic inflammation (damage of the heart and blood vessels by bacterial endotoxin) and ionizing radiation
  • Acute models: ischemic-reperfusion heart injury, hypokalemia, electrically-induced lethal arrhythmia
  • Models for monitoring damage to the heart by ionizing radiation and increased production of oxygen radicals


  • Basic laboratory analytical techniques and special tissue processing techniques
  • Transmission electron microscopy
  • Confocal microscopy
  • Catalytic enzyme histochemistry
  • Immunofluorescence detection of tissue proteins
  • Quantitative analysis of the microscopic image
  • Western blot analysis of selected proteins
  • Real time PCR
  • Zymography
  • Colorimetric analyzes (hydroxyproline, TBARS)
  • Preparation of supersaturated water with hydrogen and preparation of gas mixtures for inhalation therapy with hydrogen