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Cytometry. 1995 Feb 1;19(2):177-82.

Analysis of antifading reagents for fluorescence microscopy.

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Department of Cytochemistry and Cytometry, Leiden University, The Netherlands.


The utility of p-phenylenediamine, 1,4-di-azobicyclo-(2.2.2.)-octane, and the commercial products Citifluor, Slowfade, and Vectashield, antifading agents frequently used as mounting media for fluorescence in situ hybridization, was investigated. Fading curves for bound fluorochromes were recorded with digital microscopy, and relative fluorescence intensities of fluorochromes in solution were measured with an aperture defined measurement system. The three commonly used fluorochromes, fluorescein, tetramethyl rhodamine, and coumarin, were studied. Vectashield offered the best antifading properties for all three fluorochromes, although their relative fluorescence intensity was slightly less in Vectashield in comparison with other antifading agents. In Vectashield, fluorescein, tetramethyl rhodamine, and coumarin showed half-life times of 96, 330, and 106 s, respectively, whereas in 90% glycerol in PBS (pH 8.5), these half-life time values were 9, 7, and 25 s, respectively. Vectashield is particularly recommended as a mounting medium for quantitative digital imaging microscopy and for multicolor applications, where it is easy to have errors due to differences in fading rates of the fluorochromes.

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