Brian Chelack wrote
"I would beg to differ with Rene on this one. I don't believe antigen retrieval is "by definition" using heat and sometimes pressure. I would define antigen retrieval as any process that restores the original three dimensional structure to a molecule altered by fixation (typically formalinfixation) such that it can be recognized by the detecting antibody.
I have performed antigen retrieval by leaving slides overnight in the refrigerator immersed in PBS + 0.05% Tween 20. I'm sure there are many other ways to accomplish antigen retrieval, heat merely accelerates the process."
I think Brian is right, but many don't see it that way, maybe because the heat method has become so prevalent and was the first to be called "antigen Retrieval." Before that we simply used digestion, or "enzyme treatment" and called it that.
However, in their book "Antigen Retrieval Techniques," Shan-Rong Shi et al, the inventors of heat antigen retrieval, BEGGED people to use the term "antigen retrieval" within ANY description, for ANY method that improves the antigen/antibody reaction by pretreating the tissue - enzyme, heat, non-heat, chemical methods, whatever. Their reasoning was that 1) all these methods "retrieve" antigen reaction with antibodies and 2) there has been such an explosion of terms used to describe the process of enhancing antigen/antibody reaction that it has become impossible to search out all the articles that use such methods. A standard term, even if others are added to more fully describe the process, will allow all of us to keep up with the literature without trying to guess what the next person may call the method they use.
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