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J Proteome Res. 2007 May;6(5):1768-81. Epub 2007 Apr 6.

Inhibition of intrinsic proteolytic activities moderates preanalytical variability and instability of human plasma.

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BD Diagnostics, One Becton Drive, Franklin Lakes, New Jersey 07417, USA.


Human plasma and serum proteins are subject to intrinsic proteolytic degradation both during and after blood collection. By monitoring peptides, we investigated the stability of plasma and serum samples and the effects of anticoagulants and protease inhibitors on the plasma samples. Serum and plasma were subjected to time-course incubation, and the peptides (750-3200 Da) were extracted and analyzed with MALDI-TOF MS. Peptides of interest were further identified by MALDI-TOF/TOF MS and ESI-MS/MS analyses. Our observations indicate that plasma peptides are significantly different from serum peptides. Intrinsic proteases cause these differences between plasma and serum samples, as well as the differences among three plasma samples using either EDTA, sodium citrate, or heparin as the anticoagulant, which accounts for partial inhibitory effects on plasma proteolytic activities. Proteases and peptidases, including both aminopeptidases and carboxypeptidases, also cause time-dependent, sequential generation and digestion of the peptides in serum and all three plasmas, specifically during early sample collection and processing. Protease inhibitors within an EDTA-plasma-collection device inhibit both intrinsic plasma peptidases and proteases and moderate the time-dependent changes of the plasma peptides, including bradykinin, and complement C4- and C3- derived peptides. Our results suggest that mixing protease inhibitors immediately with blood during blood collection provides enhanced stabilization of the plasma proteome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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