Immunohistochemical demonstration of keratin 7 in routinely fixed paraffin-embedded human tissues

J Pathol. 1991 Oct;165(2):145-52. doi: 10.1002/path.1711650210.


The immunoreactivity of OV-TL 12/30, a monoclonal anti-keratin 7 antibody (Mab), was investigated on frozen as well as paraffin-embedded human tissues. Its reactivity patterns were compared with another well-characterized monoclonal antibody to keratin 7 (RCK 105), and with broadly cross-reacting monoclonal (OV-TL 12/5) as well as polyclonal (pKer) keratin antisera. In frozen sections of normal and malignant human tissues both keratin 7 Mabs gave similar staining patterns. The immunoreactivity for OV-TL 12/30 and the polyclonal antibody (pKer) in tissue sections fixed in 4 per cent formalin or Bouin solution, was completely restored when pretreated with 0.1 per cent pronase, 0.1 per cent trypsin in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) or with 0.5 per cent pepsin in 0.01 N HCl. Except for loss of immunoreactivity on human normal stomach surface epithelium and glandular mucous cells, Mab OV-TL 12/30 reacted strongly positive with essentially all those formalin- or Bouin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues that had been shown to stain in non-fixed, frozen sections. In addition to the good correlation in human tissues, a complete correlation between the reactivity on frozen and paraffin-embedded human carcinomas (n = 86) was found as well. While both RCK 105 (anti-keratin 7) and OV-TL 12/5 (anti-keratin 5, 7, 14, 19) did not stain on paraffin-embedded sections, the polyclonal control antiserum (pKer) lost immunoreactivity in some cell types (e.g. mucous cells in compound glands, hepatocytes, pancreatic acinar cells, and proximal and distal convoluted tubules of the kidney). Our study shows that the keratin 7 Mab OV-TL 12/30 is an excellent marker for tumour histopathology since it is reactive in paraffin-embedded formalin-fixed human tissues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / analysis
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Keratins / analysis*
  • Keratins / immunology
  • Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Keratins