HistoChoice® as an alternative to formalin fixation of undecalcified bone specimens

Melissa A. Kacena, N. W. Troiano, C. E. Coady, M. C. Horowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


We compared histochemical and immunohistochemical staining as well as fluorochrome labeling in murine bone specimens that were fixed with 10% neutral buffered formalin to those fixed with HistoChoice®. We showed that sections from undecalcified tibiae fixed for 4 h in HistoChoice® resulted in enhanced toluidine blue and Von Kossa histochemical staining compared to formalin fixation. HistoChoice® produced comparable or improved staining for alkaline phosphatase. Acid phosphatase localization was better in formalin fixed specimens, but osteoclasts were visuralized more easily in HistoChoice® fixed specimens. As expected, immunohistochemical labeling was antibody dependent; some antibodies labeled better in HistoChoice® fixed specimens while others were better in formalin fixed specimens. Toluidine blue, Von Kossa, and alkaline phosphatase staining of sections fixed for 12 h produced sections that were similar to 4 h fixed sections. Fixation for 12 h preserved acid phosphatase activity better. Increasing fixation to 12 h affected immunolocalization differentially. Bone sialoprotein labeling in HistoChoice® fixed specimens was comparable to formalin fixed samples. On the other hand, after 12 h formalin fixation, osteocalcin labeling was comparable to HistoChoice®. For most histochemical applications, fixing murine bone specimens for 4 h with HistoChoice® yielded superior staining compared to formalin fixation. If immunohistochemical localization is desired, however, individual antibodies must be tested to determine which fixation process retains antigenicity better. In addition, there was no detectable difference in the intensity of fluorochrome labeling using either fixative. Finally, fixation duration did not alter the intensity of labeling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-190
Number of pages6
JournalBiotechnic and Histochemistry
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Oct 1 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Histochemistry
  • Histology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Methylmethacrylate
  • Mouse
  • Preservation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Histology
  • Medical Laboratory Technology

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