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Title: High-resolution elemental mapping of human placental chorionic villi using synchrotron X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy

The placenta is the organ that mediates transport of nutrients and waste materials between mother and fetus. Synchrotron X-ray fluorescence (SXRF) microanalysis is a tool for imaging the distribution and quantity of elements in biological tissue, which can be used to study metal transport across biological membranes. Our aims were to pilot placental biopsy specimen preparation techniques that could be integrated into an ongoing epidemiology birth cohort study without harming rates of sample acquisition. We studied the effects of fixative (formalin or glutaraldehyde) and storage duration (30 days or immediate processing) on metal distribution and abundance and investigated a thaw-fixation protocol for archived specimens stored at -80° C. We measured fixative elemental composition with and without a placental biopsy via inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) to quantify fixative-induced elemental changes. Formalin-fixed specimens showed hemolysis of erythrocytes. The glutaraldehyde-paraformaldehyde solution in HEPES buffer (GTA-HEPES) had superior anatomical preservation, avoided hemolysis, and minimized elemental loss, although some cross-linking of exogenous Zn was evident. Elemental loss from tissue stored in fixative for 1 month showed variable losses (≈ 40 % with GTA-HEPES), suggesting storage duration be controlled for. Lastly, thawing of tissue held at -80 °C in a GTA-HEPES solution provided high-qualitymore » visual images and elemental images« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [3] ;  [4]
  1. Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH (United States)
  2. Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States). Advanced Photon Source (APS). X-ray Science Division
  3. Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH (United States). Geisel School of Medicine
  4. Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon NH (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Grant/Contract Number:
AC02-06CH11357; P20 GM104416; P01ES022832; P42 ES007373
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 407; Journal Issue: 22; Journal ID: ISSN 1618-2642
Research Org:
Argonne National Laboratory (ANL)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC); National Inst. of Health (NIH)
Country of Publication:
United States
62 RADIOLOGY AND NUCLEAR MEDICINE; 60 APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES Placenta; Sample preparation; Synchrotron X-ray fluorescence