The Histochemical journal

Detection of human papillomavirus DNA in genital lesions by enzymatic in situ hybridization with Fast Red and laser scanning confocal microscopy.

PMID 9279557


Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection with potentially oncogenic types 16 or 18 is common in genital lesions especially in uterine carcinomas. In such lesions, in situ hybridization with non-radioactive probes is a powerful tool for the histopathologist to detect and type HPV DNA either on cell deposits or on tissue sections. The use of an immunohistochemical method involving alkaline phosphatase and Fast Red TR salt/naphthol AS-MX phosphate is proposed for use with conventional bright-field or fluorescence microscopy as well as by laser scanning confocal microscopy. The alkaline phosphatase-Fast Red reaction has the advantage of producing a red precipitate that permits the detection of in situ hybridization signals by bright-field microscopy, and of obtaining a strong red fluorescence characterized by a lack of bleaching when excited by a green light. Therefore, the alkaline phosphatase-Fast Red reaction is well adapted for observations by fluorescence and confocal microscopy, the latter method allowing the detection, in tissue sections of cervical intraepithelial lesions, of small punctate and large diffuse hybridization signals, considered as integrated and episomal states of HPV DNA respectively. The combination of in situ hybridization with the alkaline phosphatase-Fast Red reaction and confocal microscopy is particularly convincing when hybridization signals are of small size and/or of low fluorescence intensity, especially if they are present in various focal planes; in such conditions, infected cells are easily detected by three-dimensional reconstruction. Therefore, this combination is a suitable method for identifying and characterizing HPV DNA in cells and tissue sections.

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Fast Red TR Salt hemi(zinc chloride) salt, Dye content 15 %
C7H6Cl2N2 · 0.5 ZnCl2