Immunohistochemical staining

Immunohistochemistry (IHC) is the most common application of immunostaining. It involves the process of selectively identifying antigens (proteins) in cells of a tissue section by exploiting the principle of antibodies binding specifically to antigens in biological tissues.

Immunohistochemical technique is highly useful for detection and quantification of target epitopes
Immunohistochemistry (IHC) is a technique for identifying cellular or tissue antigens by means of antigen-antibody interactions.

IHC takes its name from the roots "immuno", in reference to antibodies used in the procedure, and "histo", meaning tissue.

The site of antibody binding is identified either by direct labeling of the antibody, or by use of a secondary labeling method.

How does immunohistochemistry staining work? 

Immunohistochemical staining is accomplished with antibodies that recognize the target antigen. Since antibodies are highly specific, the antibody will bind only to the antigen of interest in the tissue section. The antibody-antigen interaction is then visualized using different detection systems.

The technique comprises two phases:

  1. slides preparation and stages involved for the reaction
  2. interpretation and quantification of the obtained expression

An important tool for detection and clinical practice

Immunohistochemistry is an umbrella term that encompasses many methods used to determine antigens with the employment of specific antibodies that can be visualized through staining.

The results gained from IHC assays provide a valuable perspective that gives context for data obtained using other methods. This is especially useful for diagnosing abnormal cells in diseases such as cancer.