Immuno Cytochemistry, Immunohistochemistry and Immunobiology

Immunocytochemistry is a technique used to assess the presence of a specific protein or antigen in cells (cultured cells, cell suspensions) by use of a specific antibody, which binds to it, thereby allowing visualization and examination under a microscope. It is a valuable tool for the determination of cellular contents from individual cells. Samples that can be analyzed include blood smears, aspirates, swabs, cultured cells, cell suspensions, and cytospin. Each sample is treated differently, yet all the methods are interchangeable. There is no one way to prepare these types of cell samples for immunocytochemical analysis.

While the term immunohistochemistry (IHC) is often used interchangeably with immunocytochemistry (ICC), significant differences exist between IHC and ICC in the nature of the biological sample that is analyzed. With IHC, tissues are removed from the patient or animal and either frozen or chemically preserved and embedded in paraffin. Sections as thin as 4μm are sliced from frozen or paraffin-embedded tissue and mounted onto slides in preparation for antibody-based staining. In this way, researchers can look at the localization of cellular components while maintaining the original architecture of the surrounding tissue, as shown in the right panel below.

Immunobiology is the branch of biology dealing with immunologic effects on infectious diseases, growth and development, recognition phenomena, hypersensitivity, heridity, aging, cancer and transplantation.

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