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Clin Chem. 2005 Jan;51(1):189-95. Epub 2004 Nov 11.

Effects of processing and storage conditions on amyloid beta (1-42) and tau concentrations in cerebrospinal fluid: implications for use in clinical practice.

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Alzheimer Center and Department of Neurology, VU University Medical Center, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Reported concentrations of amyloid beta (1-42) (A beta 42) and tau in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) differ among reports. We investigated the effects of storage temperature, repeated freeze/thaw cycles, and centrifugation on the concentrations of A beta 42 and tau in CSF.


Stability of samples stored at -80 degrees C was determined by use of an accelerated stability testing protocol according to the Arrhenius equation. A beta 42 and tau concentrations were measured in CSF samples stored at 4, 18, 37, and -80 degrees C. Relative CSF concentrations (%) of the biomarkers after one freeze/thaw cycle were compared with those after two, three, four, five, and six freeze/thaw cycles. In addition, relative A beta 42 and tau concentrations in samples not centrifuged were compared with samples centrifuged after 1, 4, 48, and 72 h.


A beta 42 and tau concentrations were stable in CSF when stored for a long period at -80 degrees C. CSF A beta 42 decreased by 20% during the first 2 days at 4, 18, and 37 degrees C compared with -80 degrees C. CSF tau decreased after storage for 12 days at 37 degrees C. After three freeze/thaw cycles, CSF A beta 42 decreased 20%. CSF tau was stable during six freeze/thaw cycles. Centrifugation did not influence the biomarker concentrations.


Repeated freeze/thaw cycles and storage at 4, 18, and 37 degrees C influence the quantitative result of the A beta 42 test. Preferably, samples should be stored at -80 degrees C immediately after collection.

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