Tetramethylbenzidine (TMB) as a substrate for horseradish peroxidase (HRP) histochemistry is more sensitive than other chromogens. Its instability in aqueous solutions and ethanol, however, has limited its application. We now report a method for stabilizing TMB by incubation in combinations of diaminobenzidine (DAB)/cobalt (Co2+)/H2O2. The stabilized TMB product was unaffected by long-term exposures to ethanol, neutral buffers, and subsequent immunohistochemical staining procedures. A procedure is recommended for optimal stabilization of TMB that affords a sensitivity for demonstrating retrogradely labeled perikarya comparable to standard TMB histochemistry. The physical characteristics of the reaction product make it suitable for combination with the unlabeled antibody, peroxidase-antiperoxidase (PAP) immunohistochemical staining procedure. This was established by staining retrogradely labeled neurons in the basal forebrain with a monoclonal antibody against choline acetyltransferase. Because the stabilized TMB product exhibited a superior sensitivity over cobalt ion intensification of the DAB-based reaction product (DAB-Co), it offers a distinct advantage over previously described combination procedures.