Antigen retrieval techniques: Current perspectives

S. R. Shi, R. J. Cote, C. R. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

329 Scopus citations


Development of the antigen retrieval (AR) technique, a simple method of boiling archival paraffin-embedded tissue sections in water to enhance the signal of immunohistochemistry (IHC), was the fruit of pioneering efforts guided by the philosophy of rendering IHC applicable to routine formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues for wide application of IHC in research and clinical pathology. On the basis of thousands of articles and many reviews, a book has recently been published that summarizes basic principles for practice and further development of the AR technique. Major topics with respect to several critical issues, such as the definition, application, technical principles, and further studies of the AR technique, are highlighted in this article. In particular, a further application of the heat-induced retrieval approach for sufficient extraction of nucleic acids in addition to proteins, and standardization of routine IHC based On the AR technique in terms of a test battery approach, are also addressed. Furthermore, understanding the mechanism of the AR technique may shed light on facilitating the development of molecular morphology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)931-937
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2001


  • Antigen retrieval (AR)
  • FISH
  • Formalin
  • ISH
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Nucleic acid


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