Progression of Apoptotic Cells by Pretreatment of Proteinase K
Apoptosis can be difficult to detect in routine histological sections. Since extensive DNA fragmentation is an important characteristic of this process, visualization of DNA breaks could greatly facilitate the identification of apoptotic cells. Several techniques for the qualitative and quantitative detection of this process have been established; recently, an in situ nick end-labelling technique based on the detection of DNA fragmentation, which is a molecular characteristic of apoptotic cell death, was described. Applying this method to paraffin sections of rat tissues, sensitivity was observed to be inconsistently low with regard to the expected number of apoptotic cells. I describe a new modified method for formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue sections, pretense pretreatment to permeate the tissue sections that involves an TUNEL (terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end-labeling) is acknowledged as a method of choice in the rapid identification and quantification of the apoptotic cell fraction in paraffin tissue preparations. TUNEL was performed without apoptosis and with apopotosis samples to each of the three concentrations of proteinase K (10, 25, 40 mg/ml) pretreatments. In this study, I show that chemical pretreatments of the tissue sections in proteinase K (25 mg/ml for 15 min at room temperature) considerably enhances the sensitivity of this nick end labelling technique.
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