Collection, preservation, and shipment of histological specimens in low-resource settings is challenging. We present a novel method that achieved excellent preservation of placental specimens from rural Mali by using formalin fixation, ethanol dehydration, and long-term storage in a solar-powered freezer. Sample preservation success was 92%, permitting evaluation of current and past malaria infection, anemia, placental maturity, and inflammation. Using RNAscope® hybridization we were able to visualize cell-specific gene expression patterns in the formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) specimens. Additionally, our method entailed mirrored sampling from the two cut faces of a cotyledon, one for the FFPE workflows and the other for storage in RNAlater™ and RNA-seq.
Keywords: Field-work; RNA-seq; RNAscope®; histology; malaria; placenta.