Immunogold detection of co-localized neuropeptides: Methodological aspects
J Histochem Cytochem.. 2004-05-01; 52(5): 617-627
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Whatever the protocol used, electron microscopic immunogold detection still suffers from a lack of sensitivity. In rat supraoptico-posthypophyseal neurons, unlabeled secretory granules are always detectable after electron microscopic immunocytochemistry, and their real status remains questionable. To improve the sensitivity of this approach, we assessed a protocol to visualize either one or the other of co-localized neuropeptides, i.e., vasopressin or galanin, after two successive rounds of immunogold with the same primary antibody performed on both faces of the grid. The use of different-sized gold particles enabled us to visualize the respective contribution of each face of the section to the final labeling. Our results showed a moderate but significant increase in both the proportion of labeled granules and the labeling intensity. Although limited, this improvement of immunogold detection strengthens the relevance of quantitative studies at the electron microscopic level, likely to reveal fine variations of the neuron peptidergic content. However, this enhancement depended on the peptide studied. The present data confirmed a progressive decrease of vasopressin immunoreactivity, already suggested by the single-staining procedure, all along the hypothalamo-posthypophyseal tract. In contrast, labeling intensity for galanin remained steady. Finally, our double-face labeling supported a preferential routing of galanin-containing secretory granules towards dendrites.