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Environ Health Perspect. 2013 Apr;121(4):480-7. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1205657. Epub 2013 Feb 5.

Performance in omics analyses of blood samples in long-term storage: opportunities for the exploitation of existing biobanks in environmental health research.

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1
Department of Toxicogenomics, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The suitability for omic analysis of biosamples collected in previous decades and currently stored in biobanks is unknown.

OBJECTIVES:

We evaluated the influence of handling and storage conditions of blood-derived biosamples on transcriptomic, epigenomic (CpG methylation), plasma metabolomic [UPLC-ToFMS (ultra performance liquid chromatography-time-of-flight mass spectrometry)], and wide-target proteomic profiles.

METHODS:

We collected fresh blood samples without RNA preservative in heparin, EDTA, or citrate and held them at room temperature for ≤ 24 hr before fractionating them into buffy coat, erythrocytes, and plasma and freezing the fractions at -80oC or in liquid nitrogen. We developed methodology for isolating RNA from the buffy coats and conducted omic analyses. Finally, we analyzed analogous samples from the EPIC-Italy and Northern Sweden Health and Disease Study biobanks.

RESULTS:

Microarray-quality RNA could be isolated from buffy coats (including most biobank samples) that had been frozen within 8 hr of blood collection by thawing the samples in RNA preservative. Different anticoagulants influenced the metabolomic, proteomic, and to a lesser extent transcriptomic profiles. Transcriptomic profiles were most affected by the delay (as little as 2 hr) before blood fractionation, whereas storage temperature had minimal impact. Effects on metabolomic and proteomic profiles were noted in samples processed ≥ 8 hr after collection, but no effects were due to storage temperature. None of the variables examined significantly influenced the epigenomic profiles. No systematic influence of time-in-storage was observed in samples stored over a period of 13-17 years.

CONCLUSIONS:

Most samples currently stored in biobanks are amenable to meaningful omics analysis, provided that they satisfy collection and storage criteria defined in this study.

PMID:
23384616
PMCID:
PMC3620742
DOI:
10.1289/ehp.1205657
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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