Solid tissues are critical for child-health research. Specimens are commonly obtained at the time of biopsy/surgery or postmortem. Research tissues can also be obtained at the time of organ retrieval for donation or from tissue that would otherwise have been discarded. Navigating the ethics of solid tissue collection from children is challenging, and optimal handling practices are imperative to maximize tissue quality. Fresh biopsy/surgical specimens can be affected by a variety of factors, including age, gender, BMI, relative humidity, freeze/thaw steps, and tissue fixation solutions. Postmortem tissues are also vulnerable to agonal factors, body storage temperature, and postmortem intervals. Nonoptimal tissue handling practices result in nucleotide degradation, decreased protein stability, artificial posttranslational protein modifications, and altered lipid concentrations. Tissue pH and tryptophan levels are 2 methods to judge the quality of solid tissue collected for research purposes; however, the RNA integrity number, together with analyses of housekeeping genes, is the new standard. A comprehensive clinical data set accompanying all tissue samples is imperative. In this review, we examined: the ethical standards relating to solid tissue procurement from children; potential sources of solid tissues; optimal practices for solid tissue processing, handling, and storage; and reliable markers of solid tissue quality.
- Accepted October 5, 2015.
- Copyright © 2016 by the American Academy of Pediatrics