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Int J Clin Lab Res. 1996;26(2):99-105.

Preanalytical factors and the measurement of cytokines in human subjects.

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Minerva Foundation Institute for Medical Research, Helsinki, Finland.


Cytokines are widely measured in research. However, cytokine analyses are influenced by a myriad of factors. For instance, a delay in the separation of plasma from cells may lead to a 50% decrease in the concentration of tumor necrosis factor in plasma. Another example is the secretion of interleukin-1 beta in women which can be twice as high during the follicular phase as in the luteal phase. The factors influencing the outcome of these tests can be divided into in vivo preanalytical factors (e.g., aging, chronobiological rhythms, diet, etc), in vitro preanalytical factors (e.g., specimen collection, equipment, transport, storage, etc), and analytical factors. To improve the value of the cytokine tests, factors strongly influencing the results have to be controlled. This can be done by using standardized assays and specimen collection procedures. In general, sufficient attention is not given to the preanalytical factors, especially in the measurement of cytokines. This article reviews the preanalytical factors which may influence the outcome of these tests in human subjects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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