Development of ultra-super sensitive immunohistochemistry and its application to the etiological study of adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma

Acta Histochem Cytochem. 2012 Apr 26;45(2):83-106. doi: 10.1267/ahc.11034. Epub 2012 Apr 21.


Antigen retrieval (AR) and ultra-super sensitive immunohistochemistry (ultra-IHC) have been established for application to archival human pathology specimens. The original ultra-IHC was the ImmunoMax method or the catalyzed signal amplification system (ImmunoMax/CSA method), comprising the streptavidin-biotin complex (sABC) method and catalyzed reporter deposition (CARD) reaction with visualization of its deposition. By introducing procedures to diminish non-specific staining in the original ultra-IHC method, we developed the modified ImmunoMax/CSA method with AR heating sections in an AR solution (heating-AR). The heating-AR and modified ImmunoMax/CSA method visualized expression of the predominantly simple present form of HTLV-1 proviral DNA pX region p40Tax protein (Tax) in adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL) cells in archival pathology specimens in approximately 75% of cases. The simple present form of Tax detected exhibited a close relation with ATLL cell proliferation. We also established a new simplified CSA (nsCSA) system by replacing the sABC method with the secondary antibody- and horse radish peroxidase-labeled polymer reagent method, introducing the pretreatments blocking non-specific binding of secondary antibody reagent, and diminishing the diffusion of deposition in the CARD reaction. Combined with AR treating sections with proteinase K solution (enzymatic-AR), the nsCSA system visualized granular immunostaining of the complex present form of Tax in a small number of ATLL cells in most cases, presenting the possibility of etiological pathological diagnosis of ATLL and suggesting that the complex present form of Tax-positive ATLL cells were young cells derived from ATLL stem cells. The heating-AR and ultra-IHC detected physiological expression of the p53 protein and its probable phosphorylation by Tax in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of peripheral blood tissue specimens from HTLV-1 carriers, as well as physiological and pathological expression of the molecules involved with G1 phase progression and G1-S phase transition (E2F-1, E2F-4, DP-1, and cyclin E) in ATLL and peripheral T-cell lymphoma cells. The ultra-IHC with AR is useful for etiological pathological diagnosis of ATLL since HTLV-1 pathogenicity depends on that of Tax, and can be a useful tool for studies translating advanced molecular biology and pathology to human pathology.

Keywords: HTLV-1; adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL); cell cycle; p53 protein; ultra-super sensitive immunohistochemistry.