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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Animal Disease Center » Infectious Bacterial Diseases Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #340759

Research Project: Characterization of Antigens, Virulence Markers, and Host Immunity in the Pathogenesis of Johne’s Disease

Location: Infectious Bacterial Diseases Research

Title: Autofluorescence and non-specific immunofluorescent labeling in frozen bovine intestinal tissue sections: Solutions for multi-color immunofluorescence experiments

item Stabel, Judith
item Jenvey, Caitlin - US Department Of Agriculture (USDA)

Submitted to: Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/14/2017
Publication Date: 8/1/2017
Citation: Stabel, J.R., Jenvey, C.J. 2017. Autofluorescence and non-specific immunofluorescent labeling in frozen bovine intestinal tissue sections: Solutions for multi-color immunofluorescence experiments. Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry. 65(9):531-541.

Interpretive Summary: Confocal microscopy is a widely used method utilizing fluorescence to identify the presence of cell types within tissues and/or bacterial or viral pathogens. This method has been used successfully to detect the presence of bacterial pathogens such as mycobacteria and to correlate that presence with the pathogenesis of disease. Understanding the pathogenesis of the disease and the host immune response to infection will allow us to develop improved diagnostic tools and vaccines. However, it is important to clearly define specific staining to discount potential false positive results caused by autofluorescence. Autofluoresence can be high, depending upon the tissue type and the source of the tissue (animal species). In the current study, methods of tissue fixation, blocking of nonspecific sites, use of ancillary stains to quench autofluoresence and utility of the microscopic software to accurately define parameters was undertaken. It was clear that certain methods worked much better to quench the autofluorescence and provide the most realistic results. This information will be helpful to scientists who undertake this type of methodology in their research, particularly those who work with cattle. Confocal microscopy can be used to improve existing knowledge of disease, leading to improved diagnostic tools.

Technical Abstract: Autofluorescence and non-specific immunofluorescent labeling are common challenges associated with immunofluorescence experiments. Autofluorescence typically demonstrates a broad emission spectrum, increasing the potential for overlap with experiments that utilize multiple fluorophores. During immunofluorescence protocol development, autofluorescence and non-specific immunofluorescent labeling was observed in frozen bovine intestinal tissue. Fixing medium, normal serum blocking, histochemical stains Sudan Black B and 3,3’-diaminobenzdine, and spectral restriction and unmixing were compared for their ability to reduce autofluorescence, as well as their effect (if any) on immunofluorescent labeling. Tissue treated with a combination of Sudan Black B and 3,3’-diaminobenzidine demonstrated the lowest mean fluorescence intensity, however, Sudan Black B also reduced specific immunofluorescent labeling and increased background autofluorescence in far-red channels (640nm). Autofluorescence typically observed between 500-550nm and 570-620nm was successfully limited to a range of 25nm using imaging software. Imaging software can be used to create a custom spectral emission profile to reduce autofluorescence and background. Additionally, a fixing medium of 1:1 acetone methanol and blocking buffer containing 10% equine serum is preferable to reduce tissue autofluorescence and to facilitate immunofluorescent labeling in protocols that use frozen bovine intestinal tissue.