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J Histochem Cytochem. 1994 Aug;42(8):1127-34.

A simple technique for preservation of fixation-sensitive antigens in paraffin-embedded tissues.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland 97201.


Immunohistochemistry is a powerful tool for tissue diagnosis and research. Although the frozen section has remained the gold standard for this important approach to evaluation of antigens in tissues, there is widespread acknowledgment of many limitations. Routine paraffin-embedded sections ware widely used for morphological examination of tissues but are not optimal for antigen preservation. In this study, paraffin-embedded tissues fixed with a simple buffer containing zinc as the primary fixative were compared with tissues fixed with routine formalin, zinc-formalin, paraformaldehyde, ethanol, a variety of commercial (non-formalin-containing) fixatives that have been recommended for reduced toxicity and improved antigen survival, and frozen sections. Human lymphoid tissues and a group of antibodies to antigens (CD1, CD4, CD7, CD8, CD19) usually preserved only in frozen tissue were used as a model system. Fixation in a simple solution of zinc acetate and zinc chloride in a Tris-Ca acetate buffer resulted in antigen preservation comparable to that in frozen sections with antibodies to these cell surface markers. Morphological preservation was comparable to formalin-fixed sections. The work presents a new method that represents the closest approach yet to a technique that combines optimal antigenic survival with the convenience and morphological preservation of traditional formalin-fixed tissue embedded in paraffin.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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