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The Unlabeled Antibody Method: Comparison Of Peroxidase-antiperoxidase With Avidin-biotin Complex By A New Method Of Quantification.

L A Sternberger, N H Sternberger

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Upon plotting of areas against optical densities in immunocytochemically stained tissue sections, hyperbolic curves were obtained which could be reduced to two straight lines, one representing variations in stained structures, and the other variations in background. The slopes of the stained structure lines reflected staining intensity independently of total area of stained structure in a section. The ratio of slopes of the stained structure and background lines reflected immunocytochemical sensitivity. A comparison of the peroxidase-antiperoxidase (PAP) method with the avidin-biotin complex (ABC) method showed that at usual antibody dilutions the PAP method was much more sensitive than the ABC method, while at impractically high antibody dilutions it was moderately more sensitive. Once sufficient dilutions of antibodies were reached, staining intensities dropped sharply with the PAP method. On the other hand, the dilution curves were flat with the ABC method. The ABC method consequently appeared unsuitable for estimating variations in concentration of antigen or for distinguishing high or low concentrations of antigen. The ABC method provided a stain for myelin even in the absence of any antibodies.