At the MSU VDL, immunohistochemistry (IHC) is primarily used for identification of specific infectious organisms, diagnosis of tumor entities, and prognostic evaluation of tumors. In addition, we use it occasionally to determine the primary site of a tumor, whether or not it is malignant, and to predict response to therapy. It is a very cost-effective test as well.

Many times a paraffin block is the only sample available for routine diagnostics in veterinary medicine. However, numerous infectious agents and cell types can be demonstrated with IHC in formalin-fixed and formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues in a wide variety of animal species. At the MSU VDL we have developed diagnostic tumor panels for a number of neoplastic conditions in dogs and cats. In addition, specific markers have been used to increase the accuracy of our prognostic predictions. In comparison with other diagnostic tests for infectious diseases, IHC allows co-localization of an antigen within a lesion, thereby increasing diagnostic accuracy and understanding of pathogenesis

About Immunohistochemistry and Immunocytochemistry

Immunohistochemistry (IHC) has been proven as a highly specific and sensitive diagnostic method and is especially advantageous as a diagnostic tool for neoplastic and infectious diseases. It is based on the detection of an antigen in question using specific mono- or polyclonal antibodies in tissue sections. After binding to the antigen, the antibodies are detected by secondary antibodies that bind a cascade of streptavidin-biotin or polymer molecules and are labeled with peroxidase or alkaline phosphatase. Both enzymes cause a color reaction that will allow the pathologist to detect the antibody-bound antigen within tissue sections.

Immunocytochemistry (ICC) employs the same techniques as described above on cytologic samples. We offer a number of antibodies that can be used in a more rapid fashion on cytologic preparations to further help determine different cell types. It is extremely important to prepare the cytology slides according to a protocol that was specifically developed in our laboratory to guarantee highest quality results. Please see Preparation of Cytologic Samples for Immunocytochemistry for a detailed description on how to prepare a cytologic sample for ICC.

Available Antibodies

For a detailed list of antibodies for both infectious diseases and to differentiate various cell types, please see the IHC Menu. In addition to antibodies used on domestic species, we also have a wide range of antibodies that can be used in rodents, especially mice and rats. We also perform GLP IHC studies and can validate antibodies for research projects. If you are interested in an antibody that is not listed on the IHC Menu, please contact the IHC coordinator or biopsy coordinator.

IHC Submissions

You can request specific antibodies by listing the antibodies on the Biopsy Submittal Form. Please see the test catalog for specifics related to sample collection, handling, and pricing.