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Methods Mol Biol. 2006;326:219-26.

Histochemical localization of cell proliferation using in situ hybridization for histone mRNA.

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Department of Nephrology, The Royal Melbourne Hospital and Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.


Monoclonal antibodies to proliferation associated antigens have long been used to histologically localize mitogenesis. However, techniques that distinguish cells in the synthetic or S phase have tended to rely on the in vivo incorporation of tritiated thymidine or thymidine analogs such as bromodeoxyuridine. The necessity to pulse with these labels before retrieving tissue means that they cannot be used in humans and are not available retrospectively. Measuring expression of histones serves as a useful adjunct to these techniques. As expression of histone proteins (H2A, H2B, H3, H4) are restricted to the synthetic phase of the cell cycle, hybridization for histone mRNA precisely distinguishes those cells in the S phase. Measuring their expression can easily be applied to the histological localization of proliferation, and can be used both prospectively and with archived tissue specimens. Several histone in situ hybridization probes and nonradioactive detection systems are now available commercially. A generalized protocol for their use in measuring in situ proliferation is provided in this chapter.

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