The effect of melanin bleaching on immunohistochemical staining in heavily pigmented melanocytic neoplasms.

Department of Dermatopathology, St. John's Dermatology Centre, St. Thomas' Hospital, London, U.K.
American Journal of Dermatopathology (Impact Factor: 1.42). 09/1998; 20(4):357-61.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The accumulation of excessive amounts of melanin in melanocytic lesions can obscure cellular morphology and can further hinder immunocytochemical procedures. We have used a modification of the potassium permanganate/oxalic acid melanin-bleaching technique, involving much reduced bleaching times, in order to remove melanin granules prior to incubation with primary antibody. We have assessed a panel of antibodies applicable to the evaluation of melanocytic lesions and in addition have also assessed antibodies that may be more useful in research. The study attempts to determine which antigens may be affected by bleaching and which are not. Antigens S100, HMB 45, NKIC3, CD34, and L26 are relatively unaffected by this procedure. Factor-VIII-related antigen and vimentin and CD68 antigens produced enhanced staining. In contrast, antigens CD3, CD31, and CD45RO were abolished. In addition, smooth muscle actin and desmin antigens demonstrated considerable nonspecific background staining and were not reliable in this study. This technique demonstrates that a fairly wide range of antigens are preserved after bleaching and that distinction between melanocytes and melanophages can reliably be performed using the conventional immunocytochemical chromogen 3,3-diaminobenzidine and without the need for elaborate counterstaining.

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