A Tissue Fixative that Protects Macromolecules (DNA, RNA, and Protein) and Histomorphology in Clinical Samples

Vladimir Vincek, Mehdi Nassiri, Mehrdad Nadji, Azorides R. Morales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations


Preservation of macromolecules (DNA, RNA, and proteins) in tissue is traditionally achieved by immediate freezing of the sample. Although isolation of PCR-able RNA has been reported from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues, the process has not been shown to be reproducible because high molecular weight RNA is usually degraded. We investigated the potential value of a new universal molecular fixative (UMFIX, Sakura Finetek USA, Inc., Torrance, California) in preservation of macromolecules in paraffin-embedded tissue. Mouse and human tissues were fixed in UMFIX from 1 hour to 8 weeks. They were then processed by a rapid tissue processing (RTP) system, embedded in paraffin, and evaluated for routine histology as well as for the quality and quantity of DNA, RNA, and proteins. Formalin-fixed tissues were processed by RTP and evaluated in a similar manner. Fresh-frozen samples were used as controls. The morphology of UMFIX-exposed tissue was comparable to that fixed in formalin. High molecular weight RNA was preserved in tissue that was immediately fixed in UMFIX and stored from 1 hour to 8 weeks at room temperature. There were no significant differences between UMFIX-exposed and frozen tissues on PCR, RT-PCR, real-time PCR, and expression microarrays. Similarly, physical and antigenic preservation of proteins in UMFIX tissue was similar to fresh state. Both RNA and proteins were substantially degraded in formalin-fixed and similarly processed specimens. We concluded that it is now possible to preserve histomorphology and intact macromolecules in the same archival paraffin-embedded tissue through the use of a novel fixative and a rapid processing system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1427-1435
Number of pages9
JournalLaboratory Investigation
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'A Tissue Fixative that Protects Macromolecules (DNA, RNA, and Protein) and Histomorphology in Clinical Samples'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this