Hereditary Alpha Tryptasemia: Validation of a Single-Well Multiplex Digital Droplet PCR Assay in a Cohort of Symptomatic Patients

Abdulrazzaq Alheraky*, Albertus T J Wierenga, Arjan Simpelaar, Lucy B Hesp, Isidor Minovic, Niusha Bagheri, Caroline Roozendaal, Lambert F R Span, Hanneke N G Oude Elberink, Ido P Kema, André B Mulder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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BACKGROUND: Hereditary alpha tryptasemia (HαT) has significant prevalence and potential morbidity in the general population. However, it remains largely undiagnosed in routine clinical diagnostics due to low availability of efficient assessment methods. To address this issue, we developed a reliable and efficient single-well multiplex digital droplet PCR assay.

METHODS: The assay was based on the reconstruction of the TPSAB1 gene through quantification of the ratio of α- and β-tryptase copy number variants (CNV) in a single-well measurement. We performed analytical validation by determining CNV measurement clustering around the expected copy numbers in 281 cases and determined the diagnostic accuracy of basal serum tryptase (BST) to predict HαT and HαT subtypes in 141 symptomatic patients.

RESULTS: The assay determined α- and β-tryptase CNVs with an overall accuracy, expressed as a 99% prediction interval, of 0.03 ± 0.27 copy numbers. The optimal BST cutoff level to predict HαT in symptomatic patients, who had no other explanation for relatively high tryptase levels (i.e., no diagnosis of systemic mastocytosis, myeloid neoplasm, or end-stage renal failure), was 9.2 ng/mL (sensitivity: 98.1%; specificity: 96.6%). HαT showed a linear gene-dose effect, with an average gene-dose increase of 7.5 ng/mL per extra α-tryptase gene.

CONCLUSION: Our single-well multiplex digital droplet PCR assay accurately determined HαT and could be implemented as a state-of-the-art routine diagnostic test. The assay demonstrated a strong correlation with BST and the optimal threshold for identifying HαT in symptomatic patients with unexplained high tryptase concentrations was at a BST level of 9.2 ng/mL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-433
Number of pages9
JournalClinical chemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2024


  • Humans
  • Tryptases/genetics
  • Mast Cells
  • DNA Copy Number Variations
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction


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