Blood Plasma Quality Control by Plasma Glutathione Status

Publication from Health
Bioanalytik und Metabolomics

Tamara Tomin, Natalie Bordag, Elmar Zügner, Abdullah Al-Baghdadi, Maximilian Schinagl, Ruth Birner-Gruenberger, Matthias Schittmayer

Anitoxidants , 5/2021


Timely centrifugation of blood for plasma preparation is a key step to ensure high plasma quality for analytics. Delays during preparation can significantly influence readouts of key clinical parameters. However, in a routine clinical environment, a strictly controlled timeline is often not feasible. The next best approach is to control for sample preparation delays by a marker that provides a readout of the time-dependent degradation of the sample. In this study, we explored the usefulness of glutathione status as potential marker of plasma preparation delay. As the concentration of glutathione in erythrocytes is at least two orders of magnitude higher than in plasma, even the slightest leakage of glutathione from the cells can be readily observed. Over the 3 h observation period employed in this study, we observed a linear increase of plasma concentrations of both reduced (GSH) and oxidized glutathione (GSSG). Artificial oxidation of GSH is prevented by rapid alkylation with N-ethylmaleimide directly in the blood sampling vessel as recently published. The observed relative leakage of GSH was significantly higher than that of GSSG. A direct comparison with plasma lactate dehydrogenase activity, a widely employed hemolysis marker, clearly demonstrated the superiority of our approach for quality control. Moreover, we show that the addition of the thiol alkylating reagent NEM directly to the blood tubes does not influence downstream analysis of other clinical parameters. In conclusion, we report that GSH gives an excellent readout of the duration of plasma preparation and the associated pre-analytical errors.

Keywords: blood plasma; clinical chemistry; glutathione; pre-analytical error; quality control; redox status