Multiplex immunofluorescence staining of coverslip-mounted paraffin-embedded tissue sections

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Animal and human tissues are used extensively in physiological and pathophysiological research. Due to both ethical considerations and low availability, it is essential to maximize the use of these tissues. Therefore, the aim was to develop a new method allowing for multiplex immunofluorescence (IF) staining of kidney sections in order to reuse the same tissue section multiple times. The paraffin-embedded kidney sections were placed onto coated coverslips and multiplex IF staining was performed. Five rounds of staining were performed where each round consisted of indirect antibody labelling, imaging on a widefield epifluorescence microscope, removal of the antibodies using a stripping buffer, and then re-staining. In the final round, the tissue was stained with hematoxylin/eosin. Using this method, tubular segments in the nephron, blood vessels, and interstitial cells were labeled. Furthermore, by placing the tissue on coverslips, confocal-like resolution was obtained using a conventional widefield epifluorescence microscope and a 60x oil objective. Thus, using standard reagents and equipment, paraffin-embedded tissue was used for multiplex IF staining with increased Z-resolution. In summary, this method offers time-saving multiplex IF staining and allows for the retrieval of both quantitative and spatial expressional information of multiple proteins and subsequently for an assessment of the tissue morphology. Due to the simplicity and integrated effectivity of this multiplex IF protocol, it holds the potential to supplement standard IF staining protocols and maximize use of tissue.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAPMIS - Journal of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology
Pages (from-to)394-402
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • Histopathology
  • coverslips
  • image resolution
  • immunostaining
  • microscopy
  • multiplex
  • pathology
  • renal/kidney
  • tissue
  • Humans
  • Kidney
  • Animals
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Paraffin Embedding/methods


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