Identification of Neutrophil Extracellular Traps in Paraffin-Embedded Feline Arterial Thrombi using Immunofluorescence Microscopy

Laetitia Duler, Nghi Nguyen, Eric Ontiveros, Ronald H.L. Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), composed of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) and proteins like histones and neutrophil elastase (NE), are released by neutrophils in response to systemic inflammation or pathogens. Although NETs have previously been shown to augment clot formation and inhibit fibrinolysis in humans and dogs, the role of NETs in cats with cardiogenic arterial thromboembolism (CATE), a life-threatening complication secondary to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, is unknown. A standardized method to identify and quantify NETs in cardiogenic arterial thrombi in cats will advance our understanding of their pathological role in CATE. Here, we describe a technique to identify NETs in formaldehyde-fixed and paraffin-embedded thrombi within the aortic bifurcation, extracted during necropsy. Following deparaffinization with xylene, aortic sections underwent indirect heat-induced antigen retrieval. Sections were then blocked, permeabilized, and ex vivo NETs were identified by colocalization of cell-free DNA (cfDNA), citrullinated histone H3 (citH3), and neutrophil elastase (NE) using immunofluorescence microscopy. To optimize the immunodetection of NETs in thrombi, autofluorescence of tissue elements was limited by using an autofluorescence quenching process prior to microscopy. This technique could be a useful tool to study NETs and thrombosis in other species and offers new insights into the pathophysiology of this complex condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of visualized experiments : JoVE
Issue number157
StatePublished - Mar 29 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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