Antigen retrieval techniques: Immunohistochemistry and molecular morphology

Antigen retrieval techniques: Immunohistochemistry and molecular morphology

Siziopikou, Kalliopi

Edited by Shan-Rong Shi, Jiang Gu, and Clive R. Taylor, 353 pp, with illus, Natick, Mass, Eaton Publishing, 2000.

Antigen Retrieval Techniques is a timely overview of antigen and nucleic add retrieval methods currently in use or under investigation in the practice of immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization.

The book is divided into 5 sections plus 2 introductory chapters and an appendix, covering basic theory, a sampling of applications, and a discussion of standardization issues.

More specifically, section I summarizes current theory on the mechanism of formalin fixation and relates the application of the theoretical concepts to techniques that rely on the preservation of structure at the molecular level. A history of the development of methods to revive or enhance immunohistochemical reactivity of antigens follows. Commonly referred to as antigen retrieval (AR) and usually consisting of heating the sample in some type of aqueous solution, AR is used in a variety of ways in different laboratories and is comprehensively summarized in this chapter (complete with 91 references). A second chapter briefly reviews studies in which the basic parameters of AR methodology, such as heat, pH, chemical composition, and concentration, have been systematically manipulated.

The next 2 sections consist of 11 chapters, each presenting a particular technical approach or area of application. The variety of articles presented, although not all-inclusive, does represent a good sample of interesting applications. Some of the topics covered include proliferation markers in both histologic and cytologic specimens, AR for immunoelectron microscopy, steroid hormone receptor techniques (namely estrogen and progesterone receptors in breast cancer), AR in neuroscience, target retrieval for in situ hybridization, and methods for evaluation of expression of tumor suppressor proteins. There is, however, no detailed chapter on hematopoietic markers here or elsewhere in the book.

Section IV presents 3 chapters dealing with both the issue of standardization of methods and a technique of combining AR with another interesting method, signal amplification, which is not as widely used at present. These are 2 quite distinct topics that will be of interest to some individuals.

Section V consists of 2 chapters on retrieval methods for resin- and celloidin-embedded tissue specimens, based on chemical or enzymatic treatment of the tissue without heating.

Finally, in a 22-page appendix with 116 references, the volume closes with a summary of the most commonly used methods for AR, plus useful hints on troubleshooting.

For the most part, the photographs are excellent and informatively captioned. There are 16 color plates in the middle of the book, each of which is reproduced in black and white at the appropriate point in the text.

Pathologists and pathology residents will find some parts of the book more useful or interesting than other parts. Technologists and those engaged in research in related areas would benefit from reading the entire book. For anyone using immunohistochemistry or in situ hybridization routinely, the book is well worth having for the variety of methods and references it provides. To see this important methodology presented in such theoretical and practical depth is very encouraging and should serve to stimulate interest in and further development of these very useful techniques.


Copyright College of American Pathologists Aug 2001

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