In situ hybridization methods for the detection of somatostatin mRNA in tissue sections using antisense RNA probes

Heinz Hoefler, Henry Childers, Marc R. Montminy, Ronald M. Lechan, Richard H. Goodman, Hubert J. Wolfe

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152 Scopus citations


In situ hybridization studies with [32P] and [3H] labelled antisense RNA probes were undertaken to determine optimal methods of tissue fixation, tissue sectioning, and conditions of hybridization, and to compare the relative merits of the two different radioactive labels. The distribution of somatostatin mRNA in neurons of rat brain using a labelled antisense somatostatin RNA probe was employed as a model for these studies. The highest degree of sensitivity for in situ hybridization was obtained using paraformaldehyde fixation and vibratome sectioning. Optimal autoradiographic localization of mRNA was obtained within 7 days using [32P] labelled probes. However, due to the high energy emittance of [32P], precise intracellular localization of hybridization sites was not possible. [3H] labelled RNA probes gave more precise cellular localization but required an average of 18-20 days autoradiographic exposure. The addition of the scintillator, PPO, decreased the exposure time for the localization of [3H] labelled probes to seven days. We also report a method for combined in situ hybridization and immunocytochemistry for the simultaneous localization of somatostatin in mRNA and peptide in individual neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-604
Number of pages8
JournalThe Histochemical Journal
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Nov 1 1986


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Cell Biology

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