Taylor, R. M., Miller, P. R., Ebrahimi, P. et al. 2018. Minimally-invasive, microneedle-array extraction of interstitial fluid for comprehensive biomedical applications: Transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, exosome research, and biomarker identification. Laboratory Animals 52(5), 526–530.
Interstitial fluid (ISF) has recently garnered interest as a biological fluid that could be used as an alternate to blood for biomedical applications, diagnosis, and therapy. ISF extraction techniques are promising because they are less invasive and less painful than venipuncture. ISF is an alternative, incompletely characterized source of physiological data. Here, we describe a novel method of ISF extraction in rats, using microneedle arrays, which provides volumes of ISF that are sufficient for downstream analysis techniques such as proteomics, genomics, and extracellular vesicle purification and analysis. This method is potentially less invasive than previously reported techniques. The limited invasiveness and larger volumes of extracted ISF afforded by this microneedle-assisted ISF extraction method provide a technique that is less stressful and more humane to laboratory animals, while also allowing for a reduction in the numbers of animals needed to acquire sufficient volumes of ISF for biomedical analysis and application.