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High temperature antigen retrieval and loss of nuclear morphology: a comparison of microwave and autoclave techniques.
  1. N C Hunt,
  2. R Attanoos,
  3. B Jasani
  1. Department of Pathology, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff.


    The use of high temperature antigen retrieval methods has been of major importance in increasing the diagnostic utility of immunocytochemistry. However, these techniques are not without their problems and in this report attention is drawn to a loss of nuclear morphological detail, including mitotic figures, following microwave antigen retrieval. This was not seen with an equivalent autoclave technique. This phenomenon was quantified using image analysis in a group of B cell lymphomas stained with the antibody L26. Loss of nuclear morphological detail may lead to difficulty in identifying cells accurately, which is important in the diagnostic setting-for example, when trying to distinguish a malignant lymphoid infiltrate within a mixed cell population. In such cases it would clearly be wise to consider the use of alternative high temperature retrieval methods and accept their slightly lower staining enhancement capability compared with the microwave technique.

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