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Appl Immunohistochem Mol Morphol. 2009 Mar;17(2):165-71. doi: 10.1097/PAI.0b013e3181853001.

Snap-frozen brain tissue sections stored with desiccant at ambient laboratory conditions without chemical fixation are resistant to degradation for a minimum of 6 months.

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Department of Pathology, USC Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA 90089-9092, USA.


Cryosectioned tissues from snap-frozen samples offer the advantage of preserving proteins at the cellular and subcellular levels and maintaining overall cell integrity in the tissue of interest without the use of chemical fixatives. To prevent specific or nonspecific degradation of proteins by autolytic and/or proteolytic processes, it is common practice to immediately store frozen tissue sections obtained from a cryostat under cryogenic conditions, for example -80 degrees C. Our laboratory recently challenged this widely held belief by extracting proteins from brain tissue samples that were archived for 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, and 6 months at various storage conditions (frozen, ambient, or desiccated) without the use of chemical fixatives. Our results from immunofluorescent stains, immunoperoxidase stains, silver stains, and Western blot analyses demonstrated that snap-frozen, heat-dried tissue sections stored and desiccated at ambient laboratory conditions are comparable to frozen samples stored up to 6 months.

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