Immunohistochemistry of tissue prepared by a molecular-friendly fixation and processing system

M. Nadji, M. Nassiri, V. Vincek, R. Kanhoush, A. R. Morales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


A recently introduced histologic fixative (Universal Molecular Fixative [UMFIX]) has been shown to preserve macromolecules in tissue at ambient temperature. When UMFIX-exposed tissues are processed by a formalin-free, microwave-assisted rapid processing system, the resulting paraffin blocks retain good histomorphology and intact nucleic acids suitable for expression microarray analysis. Because UMFIX may be used as an alternative to formalin, the authors set out to study the effect of this new fixation and processing system on immunohistochemistry (IHC) by analyzing a range of human neoplastic and non-neoplastic specimens. Parallel slices from surgically removed specimens were fixed in formalin and UMFIX and processed in a rapid microwave-assisted tissue processor. IHC was performed following routine procedures. The staining for those antibodies that normally required antigen retrieval was carried out with and without that step. The intensity and pattern of reactions were compared in 144 tissue samples fixed by the two methods using 70 monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies. The intensity of IHC reactions for most cytoplasmic antigens was generally equal or stronger in UMFIX tissues. This was particularly true with intermediate filaments and HercepTest, where the antigen retrieval step became unnecessary. Conversely, there was a decrease in the intensity of reactions for HepPar1, bcl-2, and three nuclear antigens (Ki-67, TTF-1, and estrogen receptor). Increasing their exposure times optimized the sensitivity of the latter four antibodies. The study shows that IHC staining results of tissues fixed in UMFIX and processed by the microwave-assisted system are comparable to those obtained on formalin-fixed, similarly processed specimens. There is an enhancement of the sensitivity of few antibodies in UMFIX-exposed tissue, rendering antigen retrieval unnecessary. This increased sensitivity may be due to the effect of eliminating formalin from fixation and processing or the microwave energy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-282
Number of pages6
JournalApplied Immunohistochemistry and Molecular Morphology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2005


  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Molecular pathology
  • Tissue fixation
  • Tissue processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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