A light and electron microscopic procedure for sequential double antigen localization using diaminobenzidine and benzidine dihydrochloride.
Very few double-antigen staining methods are available that are applicable to both light and electron microscopy. The objective of this study was to develop for localization of two neural antigens simultaneously a procedure which would be sensitive, simple to perform, offer permanent reaction products, and permit correlated light and ultrastructural analysis. The method employs sequential immunoperoxidase staining without antibody elution, in which the first sequence of antibodies is visualized with 3,3'-diaminobenzidine (DAB) and the second with benzidine dihydrochloride (BDHC). The DAB reaction product (brown and diffuse) was easily distinguishable from the BDHC deposit (blue, granular, and more electron-dense) by both light and electron microscopy. The procedure was used to simultaneously localize choline acetyltransferase-and either substance P or tyrosine hydroxylase in rat brain at both light and ultrastructural levels. Control experiments demonstrated the absence of both color mixing and antibody crossreactions, even when both primary antibodies were from the same species. This study demonstrates the usefulness of BDHC as a chromogen for immunoperoxidase staining either alone or in combination with DAB, and describes a double method which should have wide applicability for detailed studies of most pairs of antigens at both light and ultrastructural levels.