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Immunocytochemistry (ICC) is the detection of proteins in fixed (dead) cells using labeled antibodies. ICC differs from immunohistochemistry (IHC) as all extracellular material has been removed. Cells can be collected from several sources including cultures, suspensions, and smears. Samples are preserved (fixed) to maintain the integrity of the proteins, permeabilized to allow entry of the antibody into the cells, blocked with a solution that minimizes incorrect binding of the antibody, and the proteins of interest are bound by a specific antibody (primary antibody). ICC can be direct, where the protein is bound by a labeled primary antibody, or indirect, where an unlabeled primary antibody is bound by a second labeled antibody (secondary antibody). Common labels are fluorescent, enzymatic, radioactive, or collodial gold. The sample is analyzed through light or fluorescent microscopy. ICC is used to visualize the location of proteins in cells, identify abnormal cells, and other diagnostics through light or fluorescent microscopy. (Credit: Brooke Anderson-White)
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