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2018, Volume 34, Number 1, Page(s) 057-065     
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DOI: 10.5146/tjpath.2017.01405
A Unique Immunofluorescence Protocol to Detect Protein Expression in Vascular Tissues: Tacking a Long Standing Pathological Hitch
Puneet GANDHI, Richa KHARE
Department of Research, Bhopal Memorial Hospital & Research Centre, BHOPAL-38, INDIA
Keywords: Autofluorescence, Immunofluorescence, Immunohistochemistry, Signal intensity

Objective: Autofluorescence induced interference is one of the major drawbacks in immunofluorescence analysis of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues, as it decreases the signal-to-noise ratio of specific labeling. Apart from aldehyde-fixation induced artifacts; collagen and elastin, red blood cells and endogenous fluorescent pigment lipofuscin are prime sources of autofluorescence in vascular and aging tissues. We describe herein, an optimized indirect-immunofluorescence method for archival formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues tissues and cryo sections, using a combination of 3-reagents in a specific order, to achieve optimal fluorescence signals and imaging.

Material and Method: Human telomerase reverse transcriptase, a protein implicated as a proliferation marker, was chosen relevant to its expression in solid tumors along with 3 other intracellular proteins exhibiting nuclear and/or cytoplasmic expression. Staining was performed on 10 glioma tissue sections along with 5 of their cryo sections, 5 sections each of hepatocellular, lung, papillary-thyroid and renal cell carcinoma, with 10 non-malignant brain tissue samples serving as control. Specimens were imaged using epifluorescence microscopy, followed by software-based quantification of fluorescence signals for statistical analysis and validation.

Results: We observed that the combined application of sodium-borohydride followed by crystal violet before antigen retrieval and a Sudan black B treatment after secondary antibody application proved to be most efficacious for masking autofluorescence/non-specific background in vascular tissues.

Conclusion: This unique trio-methodology provides quantifiable observations with maximized fluorescence signal intensity of the target protein for longer retention time of the signal even after prolonged storage. The results can be extrapolated to other human tissues for different protein targets.

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