SDS Antigen Retrieval Solution


A SDS antigen retrieval solution can be used on formalin or paraformaldehyde-fixed  tissues that have been sectioned on a cryostat;   typically such tissues are cryoprotected using 30% sucrose [1].  A brief exposure to SDS has been reported to greatly improve staining for some proteins.


1% Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate (SDS) in Phosphate Buffered Saline

  • Mix 1.0 g of SDS in 100 ml of  0.01 M phosphate buffered saline (PBS).
  • Store at room temperature for up to 3 months; for extended storage, store at 4oC.


  1. Rinse sections three times for 5 minutes each in PBS.
  2. Cover sections with 1% SDS solutions and incubate for 5 minutes at room temperature with gentle rocking.
  3. Wash sections in three changes of PBS , for 5 minutes each change, to eliminate remaining SDS solution. (It is critical to remove residual SDS as this will denature  antibodies, preventing effective binding.)
  4. Proceed with tissue blocking for immunohistochemistry.


  1. Brown D, Lydon J, McLaughlin M, Stuart-Tilley A, Tyszkowski R, Alper S (1996)  Antigen retrieval in cryostat tissue sections and cultured cells by treatment with sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS).Histochem Cell Biol. 105(4):261-7. PubMed Abstract

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