To optimize the ultrastructural localization of immunoglobulin G in corneal crystalloid deposits, we compared a range of antigen unmasking techniques. A human corneal biopsy specimen was fixed in formalin, post- osmicated, and embedded in epoxy resin for electron microscopy. Thin sections were immunogold-labeled for IgG after treatment with sodium ethoxide or sodium metaperiodate. Sections were also treated by heating them at 95°C while they floated on water, 0.01 M citrate buffer (pH 6.0), or sodium metaperiodate. The treatments were applied separately and combined. After labeling, crystalloids in untreated sections had a probe density of 5 particles/μm2. Crystalloids in sections treated only with sodium ethoxide or sodium metaperiodate had probe densities of 15-20 particles/μm2. Sodium ethoxide combined with heating on water, or citrate buffer, gave probe densities of 140-160 particles/μm2. Sodium metaperiodate combined with heating on titrate buffer gave the highest probe density (195 particles/μm2). Although sodium ethoxide coupled with heating increased probe density, the ethoxide etched the sections and caused unacceptable damage. Treatment with sodium metaperiodate followed by heating on citrate buffer is recommended for antigen unmasking. This combination gave a high probe density and sections remained intact, with good ultrastructural detail.
- Electron microscopy