Attempts to quantitate immunocytochemistry at the electron microscope level

Histochem J. 1980 May;12(3):317-32. doi: 10.1007/BF01006953.


The ability to localize intracellular macromolecules in situ by high resolution techniques has been made possible by the development of antibody labelling of thin sections obtained either from tissues embedded in an hydrophilic matrix, or by ultracryotomy or from conventional plastic embedded tissue. When particle-tagged immunological reagents are used to visualize intracellular antigens, quantitative information can be obtained by combining particle counts with morphometric estimations of compartment volume. Various detection systems have been used successfully for quantitation, which include ferritin-conjugated antibodies, biotin-avidin-ferritin complexes and, more recently, gold-protein A conjugates. Examples of the use of these techniques the localization of secretory proteins in pancreatic exocrine cells, opsin and a large membrane protein in photoreceptor cells of frog retina, and contractile proteins in skeletal muscle are given. Quantitative data obtained by morphometric analysis, both in bovine and rat pancreatic exocrine cells, are compared with values assessed by biochemical methods.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amylases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Fixatives
  • Histocytochemistry / methods*
  • Immunochemistry / methods*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Electron / methods*
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism
  • Muscles / ultrastructure
  • Pancreas / metabolism
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Rhodopsin / metabolism


  • Fixatives
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Rhodopsin
  • Amylases