Within SPIDIA, an EC FP7 project aimed to improve pre analytic procedures, the PAXgene Tissue System (PAXgene), was designed to improve tissue quality for parallel molecular and morphological analysis. Within the SPIDIA project promising results were found in both genomic and proteomic experiments with PAXgene-fixed and paraffin embedded tissue derived biomolecules. But, for this technology to be accepted for use in both clinical and basic research, it is essential that its adequacy for preserving morphology and antigenicity is validated relative to formalin fixation. It is our aim to assess the suitability of PAXgene tissue fixation for (immuno)histological methods. Normal human tissue specimens (n = 70) were collected and divided into equal parts for fixation either with formalin or PAXgene. Sections of the obtained paraffin-embedded tissue were cut and stained. Morphological aspects of PAXgene-fixed tissue were described and also scored relative to formalin-fixed tissue. Performance of PAXgene-fixed tissue in immunohistochemical and in situ hybridization assays was also assessed relative to the corresponding formalin-fixed tissues. Morphology of PAXgene-fixed paraffin embedded tissue was well preserved and deemed adequate for diagnostics in most cases. Some antigens in PAXgene-fixed and paraffin embedded sections were detectable without the need for antigen retrieval, while others were detected using standard, formalin fixation based, immunohistochemistry protocols. Comparable results were obtained with in situ hybridization and histochemical stains. Basically all assessed histological techniques were found to be applicable to PAXgene-fixed and paraffin embedded tissue. In general results obtained with PAXgene-fixed tissue are comparable to those of formalin-fixed tissue. Compromises made in morphology can be called minor compared to the advantages in the molecular pathology possibilities.

dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0027704, hdl.handle.net/1765/82625
This work was funded by the European Commission 7th Framework Programme; grant id fp7/222916 - Standardisation and improvement of generic pre-analytical tools and procedures for in vitro diagnostics (SPIDIA)
Department of Pathology

Kap, Y.S, Smedts, F.M.M, Oosterhuis, J.W, Winther, R, Christensen, N, Reischauer, R.D, … Riegman, P.H.J. (2011). Histological assessment of paxgene tissue fixation and stabilization reagents. PLoS ONE, 6(11). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0027704