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Diabetologia. 1993 Oct;36(10):993-7.

Storage temperature and differing methods of sample preparation in the measurement of urinary albumin.

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Unit for Metabolic Medicine, United Medical School, Guy's Hospital, London, UK.


Microalbuminuria is a predictor of persistent proteinuria, renal failure and cardiovascular disease and therefore accurate determination of urinary albumin concentration is important. We examined the stability of albumin in urine under different conditions of storage, temperature and sample preparation. There was no significant difference in urinary albumin concentration between fresh urine and urine stored at either 4 degrees C or 20 degrees C for up to 7 days. Similarly in urine samples from diabetic patients there was no significant difference in albumin concentration at levels ranging from 1.3 to 1999.3 mg/l between fresh urine at 4 degrees C and urine stored frozen for 1 week, 1 month or 6 months. Neither storage temperature (-20 degrees C or -40 degrees C) nor centrifugation of sample prior to assay made a significant difference to the albumin concentration. Multiple freezing and thawing of urine samples during 6 weeks of storage at -20 degrees C made no difference to albumin concentrations. Storage of urine samples in either polypropylene, polystyrene or borosilicate glass tubes did not result in a significant change in urinary albumin concentration after either 1 week or 1 month at -20 degrees C although, after 1 month of storage, urinary albumin concentrations tended to be lower by an average of approximately 7%. In tubes to which gelatine had been added this was reduced to 4%. We conclude that fresh urine can be kept at 4 degrees C or 20 degrees C for up to 7 days. Frozen urine samples can be stored for up to 6 months before assay without any loss of albumin concentration.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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