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J Histochem Cytochem. 1995 Dec;43(12):1285-91.

Efficient immunodetection of various protein antigens in glutaraldehyde-fixed brain tissue.

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Département de Pathologie, Université de Montréal, Québec, Canada.


Optimal ultrastructural preservation of brain tissue for electron microscopy is best achieved with fixatives containing high concentrations of glutaraldehyde, which is generally considered detrimental to the immunogenicity of most protein antigens. We tested seventeen mono- or polyclonal antibodies against peptide or protein antigens, including a majority for which immunoreactivity had previously been reported to be sensitive to glutaraldehyde fixation. Forebrain sections of rats or mice fixed by perfusion with 3.5% glutaraldehyde were processed for pre-embedding immunocytochemistry by the avidin-biotin method. The resulting immunostaining was in most cases at least similar to that obtained in sections fixed with paraformaldehyde. Immunoreactivity against the mouse or human neurofilament protein NF-L was even improved, being similar to that previously reported for unfixed brain tissue. Of all antigens tested, only choline acetyltransferase, phenylethanolamine-N-methyl transferase, and neuropeptide Y were detected with lower sensitivity than after paraformaldehyde fixation, which was attributed to a rather restricted penetration of the primary antibody into glutaraldehyde-fixed tissue sections. These results indicate that glutaraldehyde may be envisaged as a possible fixative for optimal immunocytochemical detection of any tissue antigen at the electron microscopic level, including antigens which, on the basis of results obtained after fixation with paraformaldehyde-glutaraldehyde mixtures, were considered highly sensitive to glutaraldehyde fixation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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