Brief, high-temperature heat denaturation (pressure cooking): a simple and effective method of antigen retrieval for routinely processed tissues

J Pathol. 1994 Aug;173(4):371-9. doi: 10.1002/path.1711730413.


The merits of microwave-based antigen retrieval methods for diagnostic immunohistochemistry have recently been emphasized. As such technology has drawbacks for busy routine laboratories, we have investigated an alternative method of heat-mediated antigen retrieval (HMAR), using a domestic pressure cooker as a source of superheating. A simple protocol, with superheating in 0.01 M citrate buffer (pH 6.0) for 2 min, gave results comparable to those obtainable in a microwave oven. The range of antigens retrieved and the antigens for which heating was ineffective matched the published microwave experience. The advantages included the speed of treatment, the reproducibility of results with large batches of slides, the ability to use metal slide racks, and economy of time and equipment costs.

MeSH terms

  • Antigens / analysis*
  • Antigens, Differentiation / analysis
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques*
  • Intermediate Filaments / immunology
  • Microwaves
  • Pressure
  • Protein Denaturation*
  • Specimen Handling / methods*
  • Temperature
  • Time Factors


  • Antigens
  • Antigens, Differentiation