Fixation, Processing, and Immunofluorescent Labeling of Whole Mount Planarians

Methods Mol Biol. 2018;1774:353-366. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-7802-1_10.


Efforts to elucidate mechanisms of regeneration in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea have included the application of immunocytochemical methods to detect specific molecules and label cells and tissues in situ. Here we describe methods for immunofluorescent labeling of whole mount planarians. We outline protocols for fixation and steps for processing animals prior to immunolabeling, incorporating commonly utilized reagents for mucus removal, pigment bleaching, tissue permeabilization, and antigen retrieval. Because processing steps can mask or degrade antigens, we also recommend protocol parameters that can be tested simultaneously to optimize sample preparation for novel antibodies.

Keywords: Antibodies; Flatworms; Histology; Immunostaining.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Coloring Agents / chemistry
  • Fluoroimmunoassay / methods
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • In Situ Hybridization / methods
  • Planarians / cytology*
  • Regeneration / physiology
  • Specimen Handling / methods


  • Coloring Agents