Various fixatives and treatments such as acetone, methanol, Bouin fixative, modified Bouin fixative, 10% Formalin, modified methacarn, periodate-lysine-paraformaldehyde, acetone-methyl benzoate-xylene, and EDTA were evaluated for their effect on the immunoreactivity of Coxiella burnetii in paraffin-embedded tissues by using the avidin-biotin-peroxidase complex and the peroxidase-antiperoxidase procedure. C. burnetii antigen was shown to be present in liver, spleen, and uterus tissues of experimentally infected mice by all methods of fixation and treatment. A positive immunoreaction was seen in cytoplasmic vacuoles of macrophages, as extracellular rod-shaped organisms, and as residual particulate extra- and intracellular debris. Immunoreactivity and cellular preservation, however, varied substantially with the individual fixatives. Optimal immunostaining of C. burnetii was achieved by EDTA treatment and Bouin and acetone fixation. The avidin-biotin-peroxidase technique proved to be slightly more sensitive than the peroxidase-antiperoxidase procedure when primary antibody dilution was used as the criterion for sensitivity
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