Apoptosis TUNEL Staining Protocol

In Situ Cell Death (Apoptosis) Detection by TUNEL labeling

Protocol for Paraffin Sections:

1. Dewax paraffin sections:

Incubate slides, 55°C, 30 min.
Xylenes, 2 times, 2 min. each
100% EtOH, 2 times, 2 min. each
95% EtOH, 2 times, 2 min. each
80% EtOH, 2 min.
75% EtOH, 2 min.
50% EtOH, 2 min.

2. dH2O rinse.
3. Incubate slides in a 1µg/ml Proteinase K/10mM Tris solution, 15 min, RT. (7.5µl of 20µg/µl PK in 150 ml 10mM Tris, pH 7.4-8.0).
4. All slides: 1x PBS rinse, 2 times (+ 10 min for those non-positive control slides).
5. (Positive control slide: in DNase I solution (100µl of 200µg/ml), 10 min, RT. 1x PBS rinse, 2 times in a separate container then combine with other slides.)
6. Wipe around tissue.
7. Make up negative Control solution (just Label solution containing FITC) and TUNEL solutions at time of use:

A. Remove 100µl from Tube 2 (Label solution) for 2 negative controls (50µl each). Do this even if you are omitting this
negative control so that volumes and concentrations will remain consistent for the labeling.
B. Add Total volume (50µl) of Tube 1 (TdT) + remainder of Tube 2 (450µl).

8. Apply 100µl TUNEL reaction mixture (or 100µl Control Label solution for negative control) to each slide.
9. Incubate in humid chamber, 60 min, 37°C.
10. 1x PBS wash, 3 times.
11. Wipe around tissue.
12. Apply 100µl anti-FITC-AP conj. ("converter-AP") on each sample.
13. Incubate in humid chamber, 30 min, 37°C.
14. 1x PBS wash, 3 times.
15. 100mM Tris buffer, pH 8.2, 5 min, RT.
16. Add 50-100µl substrate solution (5-6 drops Vector Blue or Vector Red substrate/per slide):

5ml 100mM Tris, pH 8.2
1 drop Levamisole
2 drops each of Solution 1, 2, and 3 of either Vector substrate

17. Incubate in darkness, RT. Vector Blue - 10 min.; Vector Red - 5-8 min.
18. dH2O, 1 time to stop color reaction.