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Development of a multiplex immunohistochemistry workflow to investigate the immune microenvironment in mouse models of inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer

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Multiplex immunohistochemistry (mIHC) enables simultaneous staining of multiple immune markers on a single tissue section. Mounting studies have demonstrated the versatility of mIHC in evaluating immune infiltrates in different diseases and the tumour microenvironment (TME). However, the majority of published studies are limited to the analysis of human patient samples. Performing mIHC on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) mouse tissues, particularly with sensitive antigens, remain challenging. The aim of our study was to develop a robust and reproducible protocol to uncover the immune landscape in mouse FFPE tissues. Effective antibody stripping while maintaining sensitivity to antigens and tissue adhesion to the glass slide is critical in developing an mIHC panel to allow successive rounds of staining. Thus, we identified a highly efficient stripping method that preserves signal intensity and antigenicity to allow multiple rounds of staining. We subsequently optimised an mIHC workflow with antibodies specific against CD4, CD8α, FOXP3 and B220 to identify distinct T and B cell populations on mouse FFPE tissues. Lastly, the application of this mIHC panel was validated in a mouse model of inflammatory bowel cancer, two allograft mouse models of spontaneous colon adenocarcinoma and a sporadic mouse model of colon cancer. Together, these demonstrate the utility of the aforementioned protocol in establishing the quantity and spatial localisation of immune cells in different pathological tissues.


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International Journal of Molecular Sciences





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Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)



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© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (