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Comparison of immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence techniques using anti-lambda light chain antibodies for identification of immune complex deposits in canine renal biopsies

Wong, Agnes, Cianciolo, Rachel E.
antibodies, antigen-antibody complex, biopsy, dogs, fluorescent antibody technique, glomerulonephritis, harvesting, human resources, immunoglobulins, immunohistochemistry, staining, transmission electron microscopy, veterinarians
Comprehensive renal biopsy evaluation of canine glomerular disease uses immunofluorescence (IF) labeling of fresh frozen tissue to detect immune complexes that are confirmed with transmission electron microscopy. This methodology requires the veterinarian to harvest additional tissue samples, whereas sections for immunohistochemistry (IHC) could be performed on paraffin sections. If adequate IHC labeling of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue was possible, the additional tissue samples would be unnecessary. We compared the specificity and sensitivity of IHC to IF for diagnosis of immune complex–mediated glomerulonephritis (ICGN). Commercial anti-canine IHC and IF antibodies targeting the lambda light chain component of immunoglobulins were evaluated, using previously diagnosed cases of ICGN and cases without immune complexes (non-ICGN). Because the pattern of IF labeling is crucial for accurate interpretation, sections were evaluated by a trained nephropathologist and a novice to assess the impact of experience in the diagnosis of ICGN. Unfortunately, our attempts to develop an IHC protocol that could improve the workflow for clinicians and laboratory personnel were unsuccessful; the IHC protocol did not demonstrate staining patterns that could be detected reliably by either evaluator. Moreover, the IHC antibody demonstrated abundant nonspecific staining in non-ICGN cases, and 60% of true ICGN cases were misdiagnosed as non-ICGN. We did not achieve a reliable IHC protocol for the anti-lambda light chain antibody and, therefore, IF for lambda light chain remains the method of choice for ICGN detection.