Important Lessons on Long-Term Stability of Amino Acids in Stored Dried Blood Spots

Allysa M Dijkstra, Pim de Blaauw, Willemijn J van Rijt, Hanneke Renting, Ronald G H J Maatman, Francjan J van Spronsen, Rose E Maase, Peter C J I Schielen, Terry G J Derks, M Rebecca Heiner-Fokkema*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Residual heel prick Dried Blood Spots (DBS) are valuable samples for retrospective investigation of inborn metabolic diseases (IMD) and biomarker analyses. Because many metabolites suffer time-dependent decay, we investigated the five-year stability of amino acids (AA) in residual heel prick DBS. In 2019/2020, we analyzed 23 AAs in 2170 residual heel prick DBS from the Dutch neonatal screening program, stored from 2013-2017 (one year at +4 °C and four years at room temperature), using liquid chromatography mass-spectrometry. Stability was assessed by AA changes over the five years. Hydroxyproline could not be measured accurately and was not further assessed. Concentrations of 19 out of the remaining 22 AAs degraded significantly, ranked from most to least stable: aspartate, isoleucine, proline, valine, leucine, tyrosine, alanine, phenylalanine, threonine, citrulline, glutamate, serine, ornithine, glycine, asparagine, lysine, taurine, tryptophan and glutamine. Arginine, histidine and methionine concentrations were below the limit of detection and were likely to have been degraded within the first year of storage. AAs in residual heel prick DBS stored at room temperature are subject to substantial degradation, which may cause incorrect interpretation of test results for retrospective biomarker studies and IMD diagnostics. Therefore, retrospective analysis of heel prick blood should be done in comparison to similarly stored heel prick blood from controls.

Original languageEnglish
Article number34
Number of pages17
JournalInternational journal of neonatal screening
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 21-Jun-2023


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