In this review, we discuss the immunocytochemical literature with respect to a comparison between conventional colloidal gold and gold cluster compounds as immunoprobes. The relative advantages and disadvantages of each of these types of particle for immunocytochemical applications are discussed. We present results from our own laboratories and those of others on the comparison of these immunoprobes in selected experimental situations. These results show the use of gold cluster compounds at both light and electron microscope levels. At the ultrastructural level, gold cluster compounds have been used in pre-embedding labelling of cultured cells, and for labelling of ultrathin cryosections and freeze-fracture preparations. Recently, fluorescently tagged gold cluster compounds have become available. Using ultrathin cryosections of human neutrophils as a model system, we demonstrate that a single immunoprobe (i.e. a fluorescently tagged gold cluster compound) is a robust probe for correlative fluorescence and electron microscopy.
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