Ultraviolet C radiation influences the robustness of RNA integrity measurement

Conny Unger, Olga Kofanova*, Kate Sokolowska, Daniel Lehmann, Fay Betsou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The analytical and clinical validity of analyses of RNA samples destined for clinical diagnosis and therapeutic management is directly impacted by RNA quality. RNA is affected by heat, enzymatic degradation, and Ultraviolet (UV) light. RNA from three eukaryotic cell lines was degraded by heat, RNase, or UV light. RNA integrity values obtained with the benchmark Agilent Bioanalyzer 2100 system were compared with those from the more recent QIAxcel Advanced system. The application of this novel method has allowed us to unravel differences between RNA biophysical and biochemical degradation modes. Agilent RNA integrity number (RIN) and QIAxcel RIS were comparable in heat-degraded and RNase III-degraded RNA. Agilent RIN and QIAxcel RIS were comparable at a RIN decision level of 7 in UV-degraded RNA but not overall. The QIAxcel RIS method was more precise than Agilent RIN for RIN<8, while the inverse was true for RIN≥8. Greater degradation of mRNA and rRNA in UV-damaged samples hampered the Agilent RIN calculation algorithm. Overall, RIS was more robust than RIN for assessing RNA integrity. The ΔΔCt-values for heat- and UV-degraded RNA samples showed slightly higher correlation with RIS than with RIN. RNA integrity can be used to categorize RNA samples for suitability for downstream gene expression analyses, independently of the RNA degradation mechanism. The new method QIAxcel is more robust and therefore allows more accurate categorization of compromised RNA samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2072-2081
Number of pages10
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2015


  • Capillary electrophoresis
  • Quality control
  • RIN
  • RIS
  • RNA


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