Ethanol versus methanol for CD marker fixation RE: [Histonet] immunostaining post-FACS

Tarango, Mark mtarango <@t>
Fri Aug 10 13:29:46 CDT 2007

Sorry about Gayle, I meant ethanol but somehow typed methanol in that
other post.  I've tried modifying Gayle Callis' 75% acetone and 25%
ethanol fixative for murine CD markers, by replacing the ethanol with
propanol for staining human tissue.  CD3 stains very nicely.  I have a
vague memory of staining CD4 after using this fixative for frozen
sections, but I can't remember for sure.  I'm also unsure if this would
work for other CD markers, but it worked the best of all the fixative
formations I tried for CD3.  

Mark Adam Tarango HT(ASCP)

Histology/Immunohistochemistry Supervisor

Nevada Cancer Institute

One Breakthrough Way

Las Vegas, NV  89135

mtarango <@t>

Direct Line (702) 822-5112

Fax (702) 939-7663


-----Original Message-----
From: histonet-bounces <@t>
[mailto:histonet-bounces <@t>] On Behalf Of Gayle
Sent: Friday, August 10, 2007 10:21 AM
To: Irena KIRBIS; Histonet <@t>
Subject: Ethanol versus methanol for CD marker fixation RE: [Histonet]
immunostaining post-FACS

The reason I answered Mark Tarango's email in the first place was to 
correct which alcohol I do use with acetone (100% ethanol).

It is known that methanol is not optimal for all antigens, and we avoid
with our murine CD markers.  It has been noted in the literature that CD

marker staining may be compromised by fixation with methanol and
true of our murine CD markers (Elias book, the book is at home).  This
probably due to the hydrolysis of the protein antigen by methanol, and 
probably happens with ethanol too.

  There was a  Histonet discussion some years back (in Histonet
on the use of methanol for CD marker fixation, and it was noted by some 
that loss of staining after methanol did occur for some CD markers they 
were working with.   Human CD4 and CD8 do not work after ethanol
and probably will be compromised badly by the acetone/ethanol mixture.
believe Dr. Chris van der Loos in The Netherlands tried this.  He uses 
acetone for those markers

  We recently did a little inhouse study to compare the effects of 
methanol, acetone, acetone/absolute ethanol mixture for
staining of  cell cultures infected with a bacteria.  In this case, we
less fluorescence with methanol than with acetone, and had even better 
staining acetone/absolute ethanol  compared to acetone. The point is
doing a fixation panel is always wise, particularly when a new protocol
being set up - different fixatives and times with those 
fixatives).    Human CD4 and CD8 do not stain after ethanol fixation ( a

fact Dr. Chris van der Loos brings up frequently, and consequently these

human markers will be compromised by the acetone/ethanol mixture.  I 
believe Dr. Chris van der Loos in The Netherlands tried this and
to use acetone for those markers.

As long as the fixation method works for you, then you may not want to 
change or try anything different.  Question:  have you ever tried
fixative as a comparison?  If you do, let us know the results.

At 10:40 PM 8/9/2007, you wrote:
>Hi Gayle,
>It's quite interesting that on the contrary we have a very good
>with methanol as a fixative for variety of antigens (immuno on
>cytospins)including CD's and nuclear antigens. Fixation in methanol
>preserves good cell morphology and yield a reliable (repeatable)
>immunoreactions confirmed by flow cytometry.
>I'm just trying to figure out where is the reason for such a

Gayle Callis
Research Histopathology Supervisor
Veterinary Molecular Biology
Montana State University - Bozeman
PO Box 173610
Bozeman MT 59717-3610

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