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Proteomics. 2010 May;10(10):2050-6. doi: 10.1002/pmic.200900517.

Evaluation of blood collection tubes using selected reaction monitoring MS: implications for proteomic biomarker studies.

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Department of Chemistry & Biomolecular Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.

Erratum in

  • Proteomics. 2011 Dec;11(23):4593. Baker, Mark S [added].


An emphasis of current proteomic research is the validation of plasma protein biomarkers. The process of blood collection itself is critical to the accuracy and reproducibility of quantitative biomarker assays. We have developed selected reaction monitoring (SRM) assays to analyse thirteen abundant plasma proteins and evaluated the impact of three different blood collection tubes on the levels of these proteins. We also assessed the implications of the time taken to analyse plasma samples by evaluating the recovery of these proteins. We showed that SRM detects minor differences in the levels of some proteins which can be attributed to collection tube type. The average recovery for 12 of 18 assays was higher for proteins that were collected in tubes containing protease inhibitors compared to conventional collection tubes. For five of the assays, the differential recovery was statistically significant. Delaying MS analysis of a freeze-thawed sample for 1 hour showed greatly reduced recovery of these analytes; however differences attributed to tube type were only evident at the baseline timepoint. Finally, we assessed the natural variation of circulating levels of these proteins in a cohort of seven healthy individuals. This study provides useful information for researchers contemplating blood collection for undertaking protein biomarker studies.

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