Immunofluorescence on pronase-digested paraffin sections: a valuable salvage technique for renal biopsies

Kidney Int. 2006 Dec;70(12):2148-51. doi: 10.1038/ Epub 2006 Oct 25.


Direct immunofluorescence (IF) on frozen tissue is the method of choice for the study of medical renal diseases. When no glomeruli are available, IF can be performed on the formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue allocated for light microscopy after antigen retrieval with proteases. In this study, the results of IF on frozen tissue (IF-F) and on deparaffinized, pronase-treated tissue (IF-P) were compared in 71 renal biopsies representing 12 major renal diseases. Using IF-P, diagnostic findings were obtained in 100% of cases of lupus nephritis, acute post-infectious glomerulonephritis, cryoglobulinemic glomerulonephritis, fibrillary glomerulonephritis, primary amyloidosis, myeloma cast nephropathy, and light-chain Fanconi syndrome (LCFS), 88% of cases of immunoglobulin (Ig)A nephropathy, 80% of cases of light-chain deposition disease, 60% of cases of membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis type 1, 50% of cases of idiopathic membranous glomerulopathy (MGN) and 20% of cases of anti-glomerular basement membrane (GBM) disease. IF-P was less sensitive than IF-F for the detection of C3 in all disease categories and for the detection of IgG in cases of MGN and anti-GBM disease. The diagnostic kappa light-chain staining was demonstrated in 100% of cases of LCFS by IF-P versus 40% by IF-F. We conclude that IF-P is a valuable salvage immunohistochemical technique for renal biopsies lacking adequate cortical sampling for IF-F, and is superior to IF-F for the diagnosis of LCFS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Technical Report

MeSH terms

  • Antigen-Antibody Complex
  • Biopsy
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique / methods*
  • Frozen Sections
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin kappa-Chains
  • Kidney / immunology
  • Kidney / pathology*
  • Kidney Diseases / immunology
  • Kidney Diseases / pathology*
  • Paraffin Embedding*
  • Pronase*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Antigen-Antibody Complex
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin kappa-Chains
  • Pronase