The PathLink Acquired Gestational Tissue Bank: Feasibility of Project PLACENTA

J Reprod Biotechnol Fertil. 2018:7:14-27.


Background: The Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research piloted the development of Project PLACENTA (PathLink Acquired gEstatioNal Tissue bAnk). This project investigated the feasibility of a fresh gestational tissue biobank, which provides tissue linked to electronic medical records for investigators interested in maternal-fetal health.

Methods: We developed a pipeline for collection of placental tissue from Labor and Delivery within approximately 30 minutes of delivery. An email alert was developed, to signal delivery, with the ability to specifically flag patients with certain phenotypic traits. Once collected, 4 to 8 mm punch biopsy cores were snap frozen and subsequently used for DNA, RNA and protein extraction. Tissue was also collected for Formalin Fixed Paraffin Embedded (FFPE) histology, flow cytometry, and quality control measures.

Results: Of 60 deliveries using the email notification system, 25 (42%) were sent to Pathology or assigned to other research protocols and were not available for collection, 10 (16%) were discarded prior to arrival at Labor and Delivery, and 25 (42%) were available for collection. Twenty placentas were collected and averaged 38 minutes per collection. DNA extraction yielded an average of 53 µg/µl per sample and RNA extraction yielded 679 ng/µl on average per sample. Proteomic studies showed no degradation of protein, abundant and similar quantities of protein across samples and differentiation between the amnion, decidua, and villi. Histological studies showed good quality for interpretation and occasional pathology including multifocal chronic villitis, meconium laden macrophages, and Stage 2 acute chorioamnionitis. Flow cytometry demonstrated good cell viability after isolation.

Keywords: Biobank; EHR; Gestation; Placenta; Tissue.