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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 475935, 12 pages
Research Article

A Tissue Retrieval and Postharvest Processing Regimen for Rodent Reproductive Tissues Compatible with Long-Term Storage on the International Space Station and Postflight Biospecimen Sharing Program

1Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Mail Stop 3050, 3901 Rainbow Boulevard, HLSIC 3098, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA
2Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA
3Institute for Reproductive Health and Regenerative Medicine, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA

Received 6 June 2014; Revised 18 September 2014; Accepted 20 October 2014

Academic Editor: Jack J. W. A. Van Loon

Copyright © 2015 Vijayalaxmi Gupta et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Collection and processing of tissues to preserve space flight effects from animals after return to Earth is challenging. Specimens must be harvested with minimal time after landing to minimize postflight readaptation alterations in protein expression/translation, posttranslational modifications, and expression, as well as changes in gene expression and tissue histological degradation after euthanasia. We report the development of a widely applicable strategy for determining the window of optimal species-specific and tissue-specific posteuthanasia harvest that can be utilized to integrate into multi-investigator Biospecimen Sharing Programs. We also determined methods for ISS-compatible long-term tissue storage (10 months at −80°C) that yield recovery of high quality mRNA and protein for western analysis after sample return. Our focus was reproductive tissues. The time following euthanasia where tissues could be collected and histological integrity was maintained varied with tissue and species ranging between 1 and 3 hours. RNA quality was preserved in key reproductive tissues fixed in RNAlater up to 40 min after euthanasia. Postfixation processing was also standardized for safe shipment back to our laboratory. Our strategy can be adapted for other tissues under NASA’s Biospecimen Sharing Program or similar multi-investigator tissue sharing opportunities.