How to Preserve Blood Sample Integrity for Proteomic Analysis

Blood is a complex mixture of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets suspended in fluid

containing coagulation factors and other proteins, known as plasma. Because this biofluid comes into

contact with most tissues, researchers can use blood for proteomics-based biomarker discovery and

validation, where they have already detected protein biomarkers for diseases including cancer and

cardiovascular disease.

In the absence of stabilization, blood cells undergo ex vivo degradation and/or activation over time,

which can hinder downstream analysis.3 Additionally, differences in the preanalytical procedure, such as

the collection tubes employed, the time elapsed between drawing and processing, and the blood sample

storage temperature, can cause changes in the sample’s proteomic landscape.As a result, researchers

must process these samples as quickly as possible to ensure accurate analysis.

To reduce the preanalytical variability, scientists can collect whole blood samples within evacuated blood

collection tubes (BCTs), which stabilizes the samples prior to processing. This collection tube maintains the

draw-time concentrations of plasma proteins at ambient temperatures for up to five days after blood

draw, depending on the protein, by reducing platelet activation, hemolysis, and the release of

contaminating blood cell proteins. Consequently, blood samples collected and stored in these tubes

better represent the blood found in circulation, which results in more accurate proteomic analysis.


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