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Anal Chem. 2005 Aug 15;77(16):5114-23.

Sample handling for mass spectrometric proteomic investigations of human sera.

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  • 1Department of Autoimmunology, Statens Serum Institut, DK-2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark.


Proteomic investigations of sera are potentially of value for diagnosis, prognosis, choice of therapy, and disease activity assessment by virtue of discovering new biomarkers and biomarker patterns. Much debate focuses on the biological relevance and the need for identification of such biomarkers while less effort has been invested in devising standard procedures for sample preparation and storage in relation to model building based on complex sets of mass spectrometric (MS) data. Thus, development of standardized methods for collection and storage of patient samples together with standards for transportation and handling of samples are needed. This requires knowledge about how sample processing affects MS-based proteome analyses and thereby how nonbiological biased classification errors are avoided. In this study, we characterize the effects of sample handling, including clotting conditions, storage temperature, storage time, and freeze/thaw cycles, on MS-based proteomics of human serum by using principal components analysis, support vector machine learning, and clustering methods based on genetic algorithms as class modeling and prediction methods. Using spiking to artificially create differentiable sample groups, this integrated approach yields data that--even when working with sample groups that differ more than may be expected in biological studies--clearly demonstrate the need for comparable sampling conditions for samples used for modeling and for the samples that are going into the test set group. Also, the study emphasizes the difference between class prediction and class comparison studies as well as the advantages and disadvantages of different modeling methods.

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