Application of immunohistochemistry to infections

Eduardo Eyzaguirre, Abida K. Haque

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Context. - Pathologists play an important role in the diagnosis or exclusion of infectious diseases. Traditionally, the diagnosis of infectious diseases rely on serologic assays and cultures. Serologic results may be difficult to interpret in the setting of immunosuppression, fresh tissue is not always available for culture, and culture of fastidious pathogens can be difficult and may take weeks or months to yield a result. Although some microorganisms or their cytopathic effects may be readily identifiable on routine and/or histochemical stains, often these changes are not specific or are sparse in the sample evaluated. In these cases, additional immunohistochemical stains are often needed to establish the diagnosis of infection. Objective. - To review the current value and limitations of the use of immunohistochemistry in the diagnosis of infectious diseases in formalin-fixed tissue samples. Data Sources. - Literature in Medline and the authors' own experience. Conclusions. - Immunohistochemistry has proven to be a useful tool in the diagnosis of infectious diseases in tissue samples, lmmunohistochemistry is especially useful in the identification of microorganisms that are present in low numbers, stain poorly, are fastidious to grow, are noncultivable, or exhibit an atypical morphology. Finally, it is important to remember that there may be widespread occurrence of common antigens among bacteria and pathogenic fungi and both monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies must be tested for possible cross-reactivity with other organisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)424-431
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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