Antibodies are forever: a study using 12-26-year-old expired antibodies

Histopathology. 2013 Dec;63(6):869-76. doi: 10.1111/his.12225. Epub 2013 Sep 16.


Aims: The aim of this study was to investigate whether the shelf-life of diagnostic antibodies is longer than the expiry date on the label.

Methods and results: Four independent laboratories tested a small number of diagnostic antibodies kept at +4°C for 12-26 years, and found them to work perfectly on routine histology sections.

Conclusions: Diagnostic antibodies may have a workable half-life in excess of 10 years, and the emphasis on performance should shift to the preservation of antigenic targets in the tissue.

Keywords: antibody; expiry date; immunohistochemistry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies* / chemistry
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / chemistry
  • Drug Storage
  • Freezing
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Protein Stability
  • Time Factors


  • Antibodies
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal