Zinc-aldehyde fixation for light-microscopic immunocytochemistry of nervous tissues

J Histochem Cytochem. 1983 Dec;31(12):1435-8. doi: 10.1177/31.12.6355290.


Two procedures are described for vascular perfusion of the nervous system with a zinc-aldehyde fixative. The procedures, simple and economical, combine the advantages of perfusion fixation with an aldehyde solution and matrix stabilization by a mordating agent, and improve the sensitivity of the peroxidase-antiperoxidase (PAP) method for the immunocytochemical localization of several antigens. Procedure A is intended for the light-microscopic immunostaining of cellular elements containing high concentrations of antigen. Penetration of the immunoreagents is adequate without the use of detergents. Procedure B is particularly advantageous for the light-microscopic immunostaining of cellular elements that contain low concentrations of antigen, and for high-resolution microphotography. With procedure B, the tissue penetration of immunoreagents is more limited than with procedure A; however, neuronal cell bodies and dendrites are more easily penetrated by the immunoreagents than are axons. Neuronal cell bodies and dendrites thus become clearly detectable in the light-microscope, even when they are surrounded by numerous immunoreactive axon terminals, and especially after the blockage of axoplasmic transport by the topical injection of colchicine.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens / analysis
  • Cats
  • Fixatives* / administration & dosage
  • Formaldehyde
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase / analysis
  • Histocytochemistry / methods*
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Nervous System / immunology
  • Neurons / analysis*
  • Perfusion / methods*
  • Polymers
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Salicylates
  • Zinc


  • Antigens
  • Fixatives
  • Polymers
  • Salicylates
  • Formaldehyde
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase
  • Zinc
  • paraform