The immunohistochemical detection of factor VIII/von Willebrand factor antigen (FVIII/vWF-AG) in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues was investigated using the peroxidase-antiperoxidase (PAP) method. Highly purified human FVIII/vWF was used to raise rabbit anti-FVIII/vWF-AG serum. In addition to anti-FVIII/vWF-AG activity, the unabsorbed antiserum had anti-IgG, anti-IgM, and anti-α2-macroglobulin specificities. Following exhaustive absorption with these proteins, the antiserum reacted monospecifically for FVIII/vWF-AG in immunodiffusion, immunoelectrophoresis, and PAP immunohistochemistry. Sections of normal tissues from six patients and a total of 43 neoplasms were examined. Treatment of the tissue sections with trypsin prior to application of the antiserum markedly increased the sensitivity of FVIII/vWF-AG detection. The positive staining for FVIII/vWF-AG was restricted to endothelial cells, in both neoplastic and nonneoplastic tissue. In general, the hyperplastic endothelia in neoplastic and reactive tissues stained more intensely than those in normal tissues. Expression of FVIII/vWF-AG by nonendothelial neoplastic cells was not observed. FVIII/vWF-AG is a reliable marker for endothelial cells.
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