Abstract The masking effects of antigens by chemical fixation, processing, embedding media interactions, represent a serious problem for immunohistochemical purposes. Fortunately, different approaches in antigen retrieval exist. These techniques are relatively recent and continuously expanding. This review focuses on the present state of the art in antigen retrieval methods for immunohistochemistry in light and electron microscopy. Moreover, a brief discussion on the chemical aspects of fixation, mechanism of retrieval, as well as its efficacy, is given.