Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.
The effects of delayed or prolonged fixation on immunohistochemical detection of bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) antigen were evaluated in skin. Ear-notch specimens from 2 calves persistently infected with BVDV type 1 were handled in 1 of 3 ways: 1) fixed in formalin promptly and processed for immunohistochemistry (IHC) after 3-176 days; 2) held at 3-4degreesC in plastic bags up to 10 days, then fixed in formalin for 2-5 days before processing; or 3) exposed to room air and temperature for 1-5 days before formalin fixation. Immunohistochemical staining intensity was evaluated without the knowledge of specimen handling. Staining of specimens that had been promptly fixed in formalin was moderate to strong at all fixation periods through 36 days, weak or no staining was evident in specimens fixed for 176 days. Refrigerated specimens typically had moderate to strong immunohistochemical staining. Even after 10 days of refrigeration before fixation, all immunohistochemical reactions were positive. However, no immunohistochemical staining was detected in any specimen that was exposed to room air. Results indicate that prompt formalin fixation is optimal for BVDV IHC. Samples can be held in formalin at least 36 days, without loss of reactivity. A 1-day delay in fixation caused no loss of reactivity, provided the specimen was refrigerated and protected from desiccation.
Miller MA, Ramos-Vara JA, Kleiboeker SB, Larson RL: J Vet Diagn Invest 17: 461-463.