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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Time course analysis of RNA stability in human placenta

Isabelle Fajardy1*, Emmanuelle Moitrot1, Anne Vambergue2, Maryse Vandersippe-Millot1, Philippe Deruelle3 and Jean Rousseaux1

Author Affiliations

1 Centre de Biologie Pathologie, Pôle de Biochimie et Biologie Moléculaire, CHRU de Lille, Université Lille 2, France

2 Service de Diabétologie et d'Endocrinologie, CHRU de Lille, France

3 Service de Gynécologie Obstétrique, CHRU de Lille, France

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BMC Molecular Biology 2009, 10:21  doi:10.1186/1471-2199-10-21

Published: 10 March 2009



Evaluation of RNA quality is essential for gene expression analysis, as the presence of degraded samples may influence the interpretation of expression levels. Particularly, qRT-PCR data can be affected by RNA integrity and stability. To explore systematically how RNA quality affects qRT-PCR assay performance, a set of human placenta RNA samples was generated by two protocols handlings of fresh tissue over a progressive time course of 4 days. Protocol A consists of a direct transfer of tissue into RNA-stabilizing solution (RNAlater™) solution. Protocol B uses a dissection of placenta villosities before bio banking. We tested and compared RNA yields, total RNA integrity, mRNA integrity and stability in these two protocols according to the duration of storage.


A long time tissue storage had little effect on the total RNA and mRNA integrity but induced changes in the transcript levels of stress-responsive genes as TNF-alpha or COX2 after 48 h. The loss of the RNA integrity was higher in the placental tissues that underwent a dissection before RNA processing by comparison with those transferred directly into RNA later™ solution. That loss is moderate, with average RIN (RNA Integration Numbers) range values of 4.5–6.05, in comparison with values of 6.44–7.22 in samples directly transferred to RNAlater™ (protocol A). Among the house keeping genes tested, the B2M is the most stable.


This study shows that placental samples can be stored at + 4°C up to 48 h before RNA extraction without altering RNA quality. Rapid tissue handling without dissection and using RNA-stabilizing solution (RNAlater™) is a prerequisite to obtain suitable RNA integrity and stability.