Effect of transport conditions on the stability of biochemical markers in blood

S. E. Hankinson, S. J. London, C. G. Chute, R. L. Barbieri, L. Jones, L. A. Kaplan, F. M. Sacks, M. J. Stampfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


We examined the stability of lipids, carotenoids, α-tocopherol, and endogenous hormones in plasma prepared from whole blood that had been mailed to a central location for processing. Initially, to simulate transport conditions, wholeblood samples were stored in the laboratory, either at room temperature or cooled, for up to 72 h before processing. In the latter samples, lipid concentrations changed up to 1.4% per day, carotenoids up to -5.5%, and hormones up to 9.5%. In a second study, analyte concentrations in plasma from cooled whole blood mailed via overnight courier were compared with those from plasma that had been immediately separated, frozen, and mailed via overnight courier. Concentrations of cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein subfraction 3, apolipoprotein B, and retinol were stable. Overall, for each marker except estradiol, the between-person variation was at least twice the within-person variation. In a third study, at least 340 μg of DNA was recovered from 30 mL of cool-shipped whole blood. Our results indicate that shipping whole-blood samples by overnight courier is feasible for assay of several biochemical markers of interest in epidemiological research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2313-2316
Number of pages4
JournalClinical chemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • sample handling
  • variation, source of

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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