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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Factors affecting the yield of microRNAs from laser microdissectates of formalin-fixed tissue sections

Santosh Kumar Patnaik*, Eric Kannisto and Sai Yendamuri

Author Affiliations

Department of Thoracic Surgery, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Elm and Carlton Streets, Buffalo, NY 14203, USA

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:40  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-40

Published: 19 January 2012



Quantification of microRNAs in specific cell populations microdissected from tissues can be used to define their biological roles, and to develop and deploy biomarker assays. In this study, a number of variables were examined for their effect on the yield of microRNAs in samples obtained from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues by laser microdissection.


MicroRNA yield was improved by using cresyl violet instead of hematoxylin-eosin to stain tissue sections in preparation for microdissection, silicon carbide instead of glass fiber as matrix in RNA-binding columns, and overnight digestion of dissected samples with proteinase K. Storage of slides carrying stained tissue sections at room temperature for up to a week before microdissection, and storage of the microdissectates at room temperature for up to a day before RNA extraction did not adversely affect microRNA yield.


These observations should be of value for the efficient isolation of microRNAs from microdissected formalin-fixed tissues with a flexible workflow.

Cresyl violet; Formalin-fixed tissue; Hematoxylin-eosin; Laser microdissection; MicroRNA; RNA isolation