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Placenta. 2014 Jan;35(1):9-22. doi: 10.1016/j.placenta.2013.11.005. Epub 2013 Nov 19.

Optimising sample collection for placental research.

Author information

Centre for Trophoblast Research, Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3EG, UK. Electronic address:
Department of Paediatric Pathology, Great Ormond Street Hospital and Institute of Child Health (ICH/UCL), London, UK.
Center for Pregnancy and Newborn Research, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, San Antonio, TX 78229-3900, USA.
Nuffield Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Oxford, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK.
State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100080, PR China.
Magee-Womens Research Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3180, USA.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Oslo University Hospital and University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.

Erratum in

  • Placenta. 2014 Apr;35(4):289.


Biobanks provide an important repository of samples for research purposes. However, for those samples to reflect the in vivo state, and for experimental reliability and reproducibility, careful attention to collection, processing and storage is essential. This is particularly true for the placenta, which is potentially subjected to stressful conditions during delivery, and sample collection may be delayed owing to routine postpartum inspection by clinical staff. In addition, standardisation of the collection procedure enables samples to be shared among research groups, allowing larger datasets to be established. Here, we provide an evidence-based and experts' review of the factors surrounding collection that may influence data obtained from the human placenta. We outline particular requirements for specific techniques, and propose a protocol for optimal sample collection. We recognise that the relevance of these factors, and of the sample types collected to a particular study will depend on the research questions being addressed. We therefore anticipate that researchers will select from the protocol to meet their needs and resources available. Wherever possible, we encourage researchers to extend their collection to include additional samples that can be shared on an international collaborative basis, with appropriate informed consent, to raise the quality, as well as quantity, of placental research.


Delivery; Gene expression; Metabolism; Placenta; Sampling

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