Comparison of two methods for the assessment of intra-erythrocyte magnesium and its determinants: Results from the LifeLines cohort study

Joëlle C Schutten*, Adrian Post, Margriet van der Meer, Jan IJmker, Frans Goorman, Richard M Danel, Marc G Vervloet, Martin H de Borst, Daan J Touw, Stephan J L Bakker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background: Direct methods for the assessment of infra-erythrocyte magnesium (dIEM) require extensive sample preparation, making them labor intensive. An alternative, less labor intensive method is indirect calculation of infra-erythrocyte magnesium (iIEM). We compared dIEM and iIEM and studied determinants of dIEM and iIEM, plasma magnesium and 24-h urinary magnesium excretion in a large population-based cohort study.

Methods: dIEM and iIEM were measured using a validated inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) method in 1669 individuals from the second screening from the LifeLines Cohort Study. We used linear regression analyses to study the determinants of IEM, plasma magnesium and 24-h urinary magnesium excretion.

Results: Mean dIEM and iIEM were 0.20 +/- 0.04 mmol/10(12) cells and 0.25 +/- 0.04 mmol/10(12) cells, respectively. We found a strong correlation between dIEM and iIEM (r = 0.75). Passing-Bablok regression analyses showed an intercept of 0.015 (95% CI: 0.005; 0.023) and a slope of 1.157 (95% CI: 1.109; 1.210). In linear regression analyses, plasma levels of total- and LDL -cholesterol, and triglycerides were positively associated dIEM, iIEM, and plasma magnesium, while glucose and HbA1c were inversely associated with plasma magnesium.

Conclusions: We observed a strong correlation between dIEM and iIEM, suggesting that iIEM is a reliable alternative for the labor intensive dIEM method.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)772-780
Number of pages9
JournalClinica chimica acta
Early online date10-Sep-2020
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2020


  • Intra-erythrocyte magnesium
  • Metabolism
  • Method comparison
  • Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry
  • RISK

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