In this study we evaluate the suitability of two methods of RNA conservation in blood samples, PAXgene and RNAlater, in combination with variable shipping conditions for their application in multicenter studies and biobanking. RNA yield, integrity, and purity as well as levels of selected mRNA and microRNA species were analyzed in peripheral human blood samples stabilized by PAXgene or RNAlater and shipped on dry ice or at ambient temperatures from the study centers to the central analysis laboratory. Both examined systems were clearly appropriate for RNA stabilization in human blood independently of the shipping conditions. The isolated RNA is characterized by good quantity and quality and well suited for downstream applications like quantitative RT-PCR analysis of mRNA and microRNA. Superior yield and integrity values were received using RNAlater. It would be reasonable to consider the production and approval of blood collection tubes prefilled with RNAlater to facilitate the use of this excellent RNA stabilization system in large studies.
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