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Effects of Long-Term Storage at −80 °C on the Human Plasma Metabolome

Metanomics Health GmbH, Tegeler Weg 33, 10589 Berlin, Germany
Biocrates Life Sciences AG, Eduard-Bodem-Gasse 8, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Department of Medical Sciences, Cardiovascular Epidemiology, Uppsala University, Dag Hammarskjöldsv 10 B, Uppsala Science Park, 75237 Uppsala, Sweden
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Metabolites 2019, 9(5), 99;
Received: 20 March 2019 / Revised: 26 April 2019 / Accepted: 14 May 2019 / Published: 17 May 2019
PDF [2371 KB, uploaded 17 May 2019]


High-quality biological samples are required for the favorable outcome of research studies, and valid data sets are crucial for successful biomarker identification. Prolonged storage of biospecimens may have an artificial effect on compound levels. In order to investigate the potential effects of long-term storage on the metabolome, human ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) plasma samples stored for up to 16 years were analyzed by gas and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry-based metabolomics. Only 2% of 231 tested plasma metabolites were altered in the first seven years of storage. However, upon longer storage periods of up to 16 years and more time differences of few years significantly affected up to 26% of the investigated metabolites when analyzed within subject age groups. Ontology classes that were most affected included complex lipids, fatty acids, energy metabolism molecules, and amino acids. In conclusion, the human plasma metabolome is adequately stable to long-term storage at −80 °C for up to seven years but significant changes occur upon longer storage. However, other biospecimens may display different sensitivities to long-term storage. Therefore, in retrospective studies on EDTA plasma samples, analysis is best performed within the first seven years of storage. View Full-Text
Keywords: biomarker; long-term stability; storage; plasma; metabolomics; mass spectrometry biomarker; long-term stability; storage; plasma; metabolomics; mass spectrometry

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Wagner-Golbs, A.; Neuber, S.; Kamlage, B.; Christiansen, N.; Bethan, B.; Rennefahrt, U.; Schatz, P.; Lind, L. Effects of Long-Term Storage at −80 °C on the Human Plasma Metabolome. Metabolites 2019, 9, 99.

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