Immunohistochemistry (IHC) is the process of identifying proteins in tissue sections by incubating the sample with antibodies specific to the protein of interest, and then visualizing the bound antibody using a chromogen. Unlike in situ hybridization, which identifies gene transcripts in cells, IHC identifies the products themselves and provides information about their localization within cells (nuclear, cytoplasmic, or membrane) or extracellular matrix. This can be particularly important in the context of bone and cartilage because they contain many cell types as well as matrix components, each with distinct protein expression patterns. As the number of antibodies continues to grow, this technique has become vital for research laboratories studying the skeleton. Here we describe a detailed protocol for IHC analysis of bone and cartilage, addressing specific issues associated with staining of hard and matrix-rich tissues.
- Antigen retrieval