Effect of temperature and time delay in centrifugation on stability of select biomarkers of nutrition and non-communicable diseases in blood samples

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Introduction: Preanalytical conditions are critical for blood sample integrity and poses challenge in surveys involving biochemical measurements. A cross sectional study was conducted to assess the stability of select biomarkers at conditions that mimic field situations in surveys. Material and methods: Blood from 420 volunteers was exposed to 2 – 8 °C, room temperature (RT), 22 – 30 °C and > 30 °C for 30 min, 6 hours, 12 hours and 24 hours prior to centrifugation. After different exposures, whole blood (N = 35) was used to assess stability of haemoglobin, HbA1c and erythrocyte folate; serum (N = 35) for assessing stability of ferritin, C-reactive protein (CRP), vitamins B12, A and D, zinc, soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR), total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), tryglicerides, albumin, total protein and creatinine; and plasma (N = 35) was used for glucose. The mean % deviation of the analytes was compared with the total change limit (TCL), computed from analytical and intra-individual imprecision. Values that were within the TCL were deemed to be stable. Result: Creatinine (mean % deviation 14.6, TCL 5.9), haemoglobin (16.4%, TCL 4.4) and folate (33.6%, TCL 22.6) were unstable after 12 hours at 22-30°C, a temperature at which other analytes were stable. Creatinine was unstable even at RT for 12 hours (mean % deviation: 10.4). Albumin, CRP, glucose, cholesterol, LDL, triglycerides, vitamins B12 and A, sTfR and HbA1c were stable at all studied conditions. Conclusion: All analytes other than creatinine, folate and haemoglobin can be reliably estimated in blood samples exposed to 22-30°C for 12 hours in community-based studies.