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1.  Quantification of Proteins Using Peptide Immunoaffinity Enrichment Coupled with Mass Spectrometry 
There is a great need for quantitative assays in measuring proteins. Traditional sandwich immunoassays, largely considered the gold standard in quantitation, are associated with a high cost, long lead time, and are fraught with drawbacks (e.g. heterophilic antibodies, autoantibody interference, 'hook-effect').1 An alternative technique is affinity enrichment of peptides coupled with quantitative mass spectrometry, commonly referred to as SISCAPA (Stable Isotope Standards and Capture by Anti-Peptide Antibodies).2 In this technique, affinity enrichment of peptides with stable isotope dilution and detection by selected/multiple reaction monitoring mass spectrometry (SRM/MRM-MS) provides quantitative measurement of peptides as surrogates for their respective proteins. SRM/MRM-MS is well established for accurate quantitation of small molecules 3, 4 and more recently has been adapted to measure the concentrations of proteins in plasma and cell lysates.5-7 To achieve quantitation of proteins, these larger molecules are digested to component peptides using an enzyme such as trypsin. One or more selected peptides whose sequence is unique to the target protein in that species (i.e. "proteotypic" peptides) are then enriched from the sample using anti-peptide antibodies and measured as quantitative stoichiometric surrogates for protein concentration in the sample. Hence, coupled to stable isotope dilution (SID) methods (i.e. a spiked-in stable isotope labeled peptide standard), SRM/MRM can be used to measure concentrations of proteotypic peptides as surrogates for quantification of proteins in complex biological matrices. The assays have several advantages compared to traditional immunoassays. The reagents are relatively less expensive to generate, the specificity for the analyte is excellent, the assays can be highly multiplexed, enrichment can be performed from neat plasma (no depletion required), and the technique is amenable to a wide array of proteins or modifications of interest.8-13 In this video we demonstrate the basic protocol as adapted to a magnetic bead platform.
PMCID: PMC3197439  PMID: 21841765
2.  Optimum Methadone Compliance Testing 
Executive Summary
The objective of this analysis was to determine the diagnostic utility of oral fluid testing collected with the Intercept oral fluid collection device.
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Opioids (opiates or narcotics) are a class of drugs derived from the opium poppy plant that typically relieve pain and produce a euphoric feeling. Methadone is a long-acting synthetic opioid used to treat opioid dependence and chronic pain. It prevents symptoms of opioid withdrawal, reduces opioid cravings and blocks the euphoric effects of short-acting opioids such as heroin and morphine. Opioid dependence is associated with harms including an increased risk of exposure to Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Hepatitis C as well as other health, social and psychological crises. The goal of methadone treatment is harm reduction. Treatment with methadone for opioid dependence is often a long-term therapy. The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons estimates that there are currently 250 physicians qualified to prescribe methadone, and 15,500 people in methadone maintenance programs across Ontario.
Drug testing is a clinical tool whose purpose is to provide objective meaningful information, which will reinforce positive behavioral changes in patients and guide further treatment needs. Such information includes knowledge of whether the patient is taking their methadone as prescribed and reducing or abstaining from using opioid and other drugs of abuse use. The results of drug testing can be used with behavior modification techniques (contingency management techniques) where positive reinforcements such as increased methadone take-home privileges, sustained employment or parole are granted for drug screens negative for opioid use, and negative reinforcement including loss of these privileges for drug screens positive for opioid used.
Body fluids including blood, oral fluid, often referred to as saliva, and urine may contain metabolites and the parent drug of both methadone and drugs of abuse and provide a means for drug testing. Compared with blood which has a widow of detection of several hours, urine has a wider window of detection, approximately 1 to 3 days, and is therefore considered more useful than blood for drug testing. Because of this, and the fact that obtaining a urine specimen is relatively easy, urine drug screening is considered the criterion measure (gold standard) for methadone maintenance monitoring. However, 2 main concerns exist with urine specimens: the possibility of sample tampering by the patient and the necessity for observed urine collection. Urine specimens may be tampered with in 3 ways: dilution, adulteration (contamination) with chemicals, and substitution (patient submits another persons urine specimen). To circumvent sample tampering the supervised collection of urine specimens is a common and recommended practice. However, it has been suggested that this practice may have negative effects including humiliation experienced by patient and staff, and may discourage patients from staying in treatment. Supervised urine specimen collection may also present an operational problem as staff must be available to provide same-sex supervision. Oral fluid testing has been proposed as a replacement for urine because it can be collected easily under direct supervision without infringement of privacy and reduces the likelihood of sample tampering. Generally, the results of oral fluid drug testing are similar to urine drug testing but there are some differences, such as lower concentrations of substances in oral fluid than urine, and some drugs remain detectable for longer periods of time in urine than oral fluid.
The Technology Being Reviewed
The Intercept Oral Specimen Collection Device (Ora-Sure Technologies, Bethlehem, PA) consists of an absorbent pad mounted on a plastic stick. The pad is coated with common salts. The absorbent pad is inserted into the mouth and placed between the cheek and gums for 3 minutes on average. The pad absorbs the oral fluid. After 3 minutes (range 2min-5 min) the collection device is removed from the mouth and the absorbent pad is placed in a small vial which contains 0.8mL of pH-balanced preservative, for transportation to a laboratory for analysis. It is recommended that the person undergoing oral fluid drug testing have nothing to eat or drink for a 10- minute period before the oral fluid specimen is collected. This will remove opportunity for adulteration. Likewise, it is recommended that the person be observed for the duration of the collection period to prevent adulteration of the specimen. An average of 0.4 mL of saliva can be collected. The specimen may be stored at 4C to 37C and tested within 21 days of collection (or within 6 weeks if frozen).
The oral fluid specimen must be analyzed in a laboratory setting. There is no point-of-care (POC) oral fluid test kit for drugs of abuse (other than for alcohol). In the laboratory the oral fluid is extracted from the vial after centrifugation and a screening test is completed to eliminate negative specimens. Similar to urinalysis, oral fluid specimens are analyzed first by enzyme immunoassay with positive specimens sent for confirmatory testing. Comparable cut-off values to urinalysis by enzyme immunoassay have been developed for oral fluids
Review Strategy
Research Question
What is the diagnostic utility of the Intercept oral specimen device?
Inclusion criteria:
Studies evaluating paired urine and oral fluid specimens from the same individual with the Intercept oral fluid collection device.
The population studied includes drug users.
Exclusion criteria:
Studies testing for marijuana (THC) only.
Sensitivity and Specificity of oral fluid testing compared to urinalysis for methadone (methadone metabolite), opiates, cocaine, benzodiazepines, and alcohol.
Quality of the Body of Evidence
The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) system was used to evaluate the overall quality of the body of evidence (defined as 1 or more studies) supporting the research questions explored in this systematic review. A description of the GRADE system is reported in Appendix 1.
Summary of Findings
A total of 854 potential citations were retrieved. After reviewing titles and abstracts, 2 met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Two other relevant studies were found after corresponding with the author of the 2 studies retrieved from the literature search. Therefore a total of 4 published studies are included in this analysis. All 4 studies carried out by the same investigator meet the definition of Medical Advisory Secretariat level III (not a-randomized controlled trial with contemporaneous controls) study design. In each of the studies, paired urine and oral fluid specimens where obtained from drug users. Urine collection was not observed in the studies however, laboratory tests for pH and creatinine were used to determine the reliability of the specimen. Urine specimens thought to be diluted and unreliable were removed from the evaluation. Urinalysis was used as the criterion measurement for which to determine the sensitivity and specificity of oral fluid testing by the Intercept oral fluid device for opiates, benzodiazepines, cocaine and marijuana. Alcohol was not tested in any of the 4 studies. From these 4 studies, the following conclusions were drawn:
The evidence indicates that oral fluid testing with the Intercept oral fluid device has better specificity than sensitivity for opiates, benzodiazepines, cocaine and marijuana.
The sensitivity of oral fluids testing with the Intercept oral fluid device seems to be from best to worst: cocaine > benzodiazepines >opiates> marijuana.
The sensitivity and specificity for opiates of the Intercept oral fluid device ranges from 75 to 90% and 97- 100% respectively.
The consequences of opiate false-negatives by oral fluid testing with the Intercept oral fluid device need to be weighed against the disadvantages of urine testing, including invasion of privacy issues and adulteration and substitution of the urine specimen.
The window of detection is narrower for oral fluid drug testing than urinalysis and because of this oral fluid testing may best be applied in situations where there is suspected frequent drug use. When drug use is thought to be less frequent or remote, urinalysis may offer a wider (24-48 hours more than oral fluids) window of detection.
The narrow window of detection for oral fluid testing may mean more frequent testing is needed compared to urinalysis. This may increase the expense for drug testing in general.
POC oral fluid testing is not yet available and may limit the practical utility of this drug testing methodology. POC urinalysis by immunoassay is available.
The possible applications of oral fluid testing may include:
Because of its narrow window of detection compared to urinalysis oral fluid testing may best be used during periods of suspected frequent or recent drug use (within 24 hours of drug testing). This is not to say that oral fluid testing is superior to urinalysis during these time periods.
In situations where an observed urine specimen is difficult to obtain. This may include persons with “shy bladder syndrome” or with other urinary conditions limiting their ability to provide an observed urine specimen.
When the health of the patient would make urine testing unreliable (e,g., renal disease)
As an alternative drug testing method when urine specimen tampering practices are suspected to be affecting the reliability of the urinalysis test.
Possible limiting Factors to Diffusion of Oral Fluid Technology
No oral fluid POC test equivalent to onsite urine dips or POC analyzer reducing immediacy of results for patient care.
Currently, physicians get reimbursed directly for POC urinalysis. Oral fluid must be analyzed in a lab setting removing physician reimbursement, which is a source of program funding for many methadone clinics.
Small amount of oral fluid specimen obtained; repeat testing on same sample will be difficult.
Reliability of positive oral fluid methadone (parent drug) results may decrease because of possible contamination of oral cavity after ingestion of dose. Therefore high methadone levels may not be indicative of compliance with treatment. Oral fluid does not as yet test for methadone metabolite.
There currently is no licensed provincial laboratory that analyses oral fluid specimens.
2-ethylidene- 1,5-dimethyl-3,3-diphenylpyrrolidine
enzyme immunoassay
Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA),
Enzyme Multiplied Immunoassay Test (EMIT)
Gas chromatography
gas chromatography/mass spectrometry
High-performance liquid chromatography
Limit of Detection
Mass spectrometry
Methadone Maintenance Treatment
Oral fluid testing
Point of Care Testing
11-nor-delta-9-tetrhydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid
urine drug testing
PMCID: PMC3379523  PMID: 23074492
3.  Interferences in Immunoassay 
The Clinical Biochemist Reviews  2004;25(2):105-120.
Substances that alter the measurable concentration of the analyte or alter antibody binding can potentially result in immunoassay interference. Interfering, endogenous substances that are natural, polyreactive antibodies or autoantibodies (heterophiles), or human anti-animal antibodies together with other unsuspected binding proteins that are unique to the individual, can interfere with the reaction between analyte and reagent antibodies in immunoassay. Lipaemia, cross-reactivity, and exogenous interferences due to pre-analytical variation, matrix and equipment reaction also affect immunoassay. Interfering substances may lead to falsely elevated or falsely low analyte concentration in one or more assay systems depending on the site of the interference in the reaction and possibly result in discordant results for other analytes. The prevalence of interference is generally low in assays containing blocking agents that neutralise or inhibit the interference but is often higher in new, untested immunoassays. A wide range of analytes measured by immunoassay including hormones, tumour markers, drugs, cardiac troponin and microbial serology may be affected.
Interference in immunoassay may lead to the misinterpretation of a patient's results by the laboratory and the wrong course of treatment being given by the physician. Laboratories should put processes in place to detect, test and report suspected interferences. It is equally important that physicians communicate any clinical suspicion of discordance between the clinical and the laboratory data to the laboratory. The detection of interference may require the use of an alternate assay or additional measurements, before and after treatment with additional blocking reagent, or following dilution of the sample in non-immune serum. It is imperative that laboratories inform physicians of the follow-up procedure and report on the presence of any interference. The establishment of on-going laboratory-physician contact is essential to the continuing awareness of wrong patient results due to interference.
PMCID: PMC1904417  PMID: 18458713
4.  Magnetic bead-based phage anti-immunocomplex assay (PHAIA) for the detection of the urinary biomarker 3-phenoxybenzoic acid to assess human exposure to pyrethroid insecticides 
Analytical biochemistry  2008;386(1):45-52.
Noncompetitive immunoassays are advantageous over competitive assays for the detection of small molecular weight compounds. We recently demonstrated that phage peptide libraries can be an excellent source of immunoreagents that facilitate the development of sandwich-type noncompetitive immunoassays for the detection of small analytes, avoiding the technical challenges of producing anti-immunocomplex antibody. In this work we explore a new format that may help to optimize the performance of the phage anti-immunocomplex assay (PHAIA) technology. As a model system we used a polyclonal antibody to 3-phenoxybenzoic acid (3-PBA) and an anti-immunocomplex phage clone bearing the cyclic peptide CFNGKDWLYC. The assay setup with the biotinylated antibody immobilized onto streptavidin-coated magnetic beads significantly reduced the amount of coating antibody giving identical sensitivity (50% saturation of the signal (SC50) = 0.2–0.4 ng/ml) to the best result obtained with direct coating of the antibody on ELISA plates. The bead-based assay tolerated up to 10 and 5% of methanol and urine matrix, respectively. This assay system accurately determined the level of spiked 3-PBA in different urine samples prepared by direct dilution or clean-up with solid-phase extraction after acidic hydrolysis with overall recovery of 80–120%.
PMCID: PMC2863013  PMID: 19101498
Phage anti-immunocomplex assay; Phage peptide display; Phage ELISA; Noncompetitive immunoassay; 3-Phenoxybenzoic acid; Pyrethroid insecticides
5.  Validation of a LC-MS/MS Method for Quantifying Urinary Nicotine, Six Nicotine Metabolites and the Minor Tobacco Alkaloids—Anatabine and Anabasine—in Smokers' Urine 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e101816.
Tobacco use is a major contributor to premature morbidity and mortality. The measurement of nicotine and its metabolites in urine is a valuable tool for evaluating nicotine exposure and for nicotine metabolic profiling—i.e., metabolite ratios. In addition, the minor tobacco alkaloids—anabasine and anatabine—can be useful for monitoring compliance in smoking cessation programs that use nicotine replacement therapy. Because of an increasing demand for the measurement of urinary nicotine metabolites, we developed a rapid, low-cost method that uses isotope dilution liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) for simultaneously quantifying nicotine, six nicotine metabolites, and two minor tobacco alkaloids in smokers' urine. This method enzymatically hydrolyzes conjugated nicotine (primarily glucuronides) and its metabolites. We then use acetone pretreatment to precipitate matrix components (endogenous proteins, salts, phospholipids, and exogenous enzyme) that may interfere with LC-MS/MS analysis. Subsequently, analytes (nicotine, cotinine, hydroxycotinine, norcotinine, nornicotine, cotinine N-oxide, nicotine 1′-N-oxide, anatabine, and anabasine) are chromatographically resolved within a cycle time of 13.5 minutes. The optimized assay produces linear responses across the analyte concentrations typically found in urine collected from daily smokers. Because matrix ion suppression may influence accuracy, we include a discussion of conventions employed in this procedure to minimize matrix interferences. Simplicity, low cost, low maintenance combined with high mean metabolite recovery (76–99%), specificity, accuracy (0–10% bias) and reproducibility (2–9% C.V.) make this method ideal for large high through-put studies.
PMCID: PMC4094486  PMID: 25013964
6.  Assessment of urine solute and matrix effects on the performance of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for measurement of interleukin-6 in dog urine 
Measurement of cytokine concentrations within body fluids is a means of recognizing subclinical and/or unresolved, infectious and inflammatory states in patients. In the urinary tract, such information may be useful for identifying patients with pyelonephritis, asymptomatic bacteriuria, recurrent infections, and cystitis. One such cytokine, interleukin-6 (IL-6), is recognized as a primary cytokine that is produced following exposure of the urothelium to bacterial virulence factors. Complicating reliable testing for this and other cytokines is the nature of urine itself. Urine varies widely in its composition as indicated by the range of pH and urine specific gravity (USG) observed in healthy patients. An additional variable is the protein and carbohydrate matrix capable of hindering immunologic testing modalities, such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs). The purpose of the current study was to examine the role of urine pH, USG, and matrix while optimizing a canine-specific chemiluminescent ELISA for the measurement of IL-6 in the urine of dogs. Urine spiked with IL-6 obtained maximal IL-6 quantitative recoveries of only 55 ± 10% (mean ± 1 standard deviation) when an ELISA optimized for cell culture supernatants was used. The urine matrix and variations in USG were determined to by contributing to this poor IL-6 recovery. Using specific matrix inhibitors and optimal dilutions improved the IL-6 quantitative recovery to 91 ± 5%. Urine pH (5.5–9.5) had no effect. The current work underscores the importance of critically optimizing testing modalities for biomarkers, particularly if they are immunologic in origin.
PMCID: PMC4142517  PMID: 21398454
Cytokine; enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay; interleukin-6; matrix; urine
7.  Optimization for peptide sample preparation for urine peptidomics 
Clinical proteomics  2014;11(1):7.
Analysis of native or endogenous peptides in biofluids can provide valuable insights into disease mechanisms. Furthermore, the detected peptides may also have utility as potential biomarkers for non-invasive monitoring of human diseases. The non-invasive nature of urine collection and the abundance of peptides in the urine makes analysis by high-throughput ‘peptidomics’ methods , an attractive approach for investigating the pathogenesis of renal disease. However, urine peptidomics methodologies can be problematic with regards to difficulties associated with sample preparation. The urine matrix can provide significant background interference in making the analytical measurements that it hampers both the identification of peptides and the depth of the peptidomics read when utilizing LC-MS based peptidome analysis. We report on a novel adaptation of the standard solid phase extraction (SPE) method to a modified SPE (mSPE) approach for improved peptide yield and analysis sensitivity with LC-MS based peptidomics in terms of time, cost, clogging of the LC-MS column, peptide yield, peptide quality, and number of peptides identified by each method. Expense and time requirements were comparable for both SPE and mSPE, but more interfering contaminants from the urine matrix were evident in the SPE preparations (e.g., clogging of the LC-MS columns, yellowish background coloration of prepared samples due to retained urobilin, lower peptide yields) when compared to the mSPE method. When we compared data from technical replicates of 4 runs, the mSPE method provided significantly improved efficiencies for the preparation of samples from urine (e.g., mSPE peptide identification 82% versus 18% with SPE; p = 8.92E-05). Additionally, peptide identifications, when applying the mSPE method, highlighted the biology of differential activation of urine peptidases during acute renal transplant rejection with distinct laddering of specific peptides, which was obscured for most proteins when utilizing the conventional SPE method. In conclusion, the mSPE method was found to be superior to the conventional, standard SPE method for urine peptide sample preparation when applying LC-MS peptidomics analysis due to the optimized sample clean up that provided improved experimental inference from the confidently identified peptides.
PMCID: PMC3944950  PMID: 24568099
Urine; Biomarker; Peptidomics; Biomarker discovery; Proteomics; Transplantation
8.  Unexpected random urinary protein:creatinine ratio results–limitations of the pyrocatechol violet-dye method 
For clinicians, it is important to rely on accurate laboratory results for patient care and optimal use of health care resources. We sought to explore our observations that urine protein:creatinine ratios (PrCr) ≥30 mg/mmol are seen not infrequently associated with normal pregnancy outcome.
Urine samples were collected prospectively from 160 pregnant women attending high-risk maternity clinics at a tertiary care facility. Urinary protein was measured using a pyrocatechol violet assay and urinary creatinine by an enzymatic method on Vitros analysers. Maternal/perinatal outcomes were abstracted from hospital records.
91/233 (39.1%) samples had a PrCr ≥30 mg/mmol, especially when urinary creatinine concentration was <3 mM (94.1%) vs. ≥3 mM (16.4%) (p < 0.001). When using the last sample before delivery, 47/160 (29.4%) had a PrCr ≥30 mg/mmol in diluted urine vs. only 17/160 (15.4%) in more concentrated urine (p < 0.001); PrCr positive results were also more frequent among the 32 (20.0%) women with known normal pregnancy outcome (90.9% vs. 0) (p < 0.001). Using the same analyser, 0.12 g/L urinary protein was ‘detected’ in deionised water. Re-analysis of data from two cohorts revealed substantially less inflation of PrCr in dilute urine using a pyrogallol red assay.
Random urinary PrCr was overestimated in dilute urine when tested using a common pyrocatechol violet dye-based method. This effect was reduced in cohorts when pyrogallol red assays were used. False positive results can impact on diagnosis and patient care. This highlights the need for both clinical and laboratory quality improvement projects and standardization of laboratory protein measurement.
PMCID: PMC3733961  PMID: 23865673
Hypertension; Pre-eclampsia; Pregnancy; Protein:creatinine ratio; Proteinuria measurement; Laboratory
9.  Detection and diagnostic value of urine leucine-rich alpha-2-glycoprotein (LRG) in children with suspected acute appendicitis 
Annals of emergency medicine  2012;60(1):78-83.e1.
Previously, we used a proteomics approach for the discovery of new diagnostic markers of acute appendicitis (AA) and identified LRG that was elevated in the urine of children with AA and enriched in diseased appendices. Here, we sought to evaluate the diagnostic utility of enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA) of urine LRG in a blinded, prospective, cohort study of children being evaluated for acute abdominal pain.
Urine LRG concentration was measured using a commercially available LRG ELISA, and selected ion monitoring (SIM) mass spectrometry (MS). Urine LRG test performance was evaluated blindly against the pathologic diagnosis and histologic grade of appendicitis.
Urine LRG was measured in 49 patients. Mean urine LRG concentration measured using commercial LRG ELISA was significantly elevated in patients with AA, but exhibited an interference effect. Direct measurements using SIM MS demonstrated that LRG was elevated more than 100-fold in patients with AA as compared to those without, with the receiver operating characteristic area under the curve of 0.98 (95% CI = 0.96-1.0). Among patients with AA, elevations of urine LRG measured using ELISA and SIM MS correlated with the histologic severity of appendicitis.
Urine LRG ELISA allows for discrimination between patients with and without AA, but exhibits limited accuracy due to immunoassay interference. Direct measurements of urine LRG using SIM MS demonstrate superior diagnostic performance. Development of a clinical-grade urine LRG assay is needed to advance the diagnostic accuracy of clinical evaluations of appendicitis.
PMCID: PMC3726720  PMID: 22305331
10.  Multiple Reaction Monitoring-Mass Spectrometric Assays Can Accurately Measure Many Protein Concentrations in Complex Mixtures 
Clinical chemistry  2012;58(4):777-781.
Mass spectrometric assays have the potential to replace protein immunoassays in basic science, clinical research, and clinical care. Previous studies have demonstrated the utility of assays using multiple-reaction monitoring mass spectrometry (MRM-MS) for the quantification of proteins in biological samples and many examples of the accuracy of these approaches to quantify spiked analytes have been reported. However, a direct comparison of multiplexed assays using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry with established immunoassays to measure endogenous proteins has not been reported.
We purified the HDL from the plasma of 30 human subjects enrolled in a clinical nutrition research study and used label-free shotgun proteomics approaches to analyze each sample. We then developed two different 6-plex assays that used isotope dilution MRM-MS: one assay used stable isotope labeled peptides and the other used stable isotope labeled apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I), the most abundant protein in HDL, as internal standards to control for matrix effects and mass spectrometer performance. The shotgun and MRM-MS assays were then compared with commercially available immunoassays for each of the six analytes.
Quantification by shotgun proteomics approaches correlated poorly with the six protein immunoassays. However, the MRM-MS approaches that used internal standard peptide or a single internal standard protein correlated well. In addition, MRM-MS approaches had good repeatability (<10% CV) and linearity.
Multiplexed MRM-MS assays correlate well with immunochemical measurements and have acceptable operating characteristics in complex samples. Our results support the proposal that MRM-MS could be used to replace immunoassays in a variety of settings.
PMCID: PMC3665768  PMID: 22307200
Mass spectrometry; multiple reaction monitoring; endogenous; proteins; high density lipoprotein; targeted proteomics
11.  A Micro-Extraction Technique Using a New Digitally Controlled Syringe Combined with UHPLC for Assessment of Urinary Biomarkers of Oxidatively Damaged DNA 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58366.
The formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) within cells causes damage to biomolecules, including membrane lipids, DNA, proteins and sugars. An important type of oxidative damage is DNA base hydroxylation which leads to the formation of 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-oxodG) and 5-hydroxymethyluracil (5-HMUra). Measurement of these biomarkers in urine is challenging, due to the low levels of the analytes and the matrix complexity. In order to simultaneously quantify 8-oxodG and 5-HMUra in human urine, a new, reliable and powerful strategy was optimised and validated. It is based on a semi-automatic microextraction by packed sorbent (MEPS) technique, using a new digitally controlled syringe (eVol®), to enhance the extraction efficiency of the target metabolites, followed by a fast and sensitive ultrahigh pressure liquid chromatography (UHPLC). The optimal methodological conditions involve loading of 250 µL urine sample (1∶10 dilution) through a C8 sorbent in a MEPS syringe placed in the semi-automatic eVol® syringe followed by elution using 90 µL of 20% methanol in 0.01% formic acid solution. The obtained extract is directly analysed in the UHPLC system using a binary mobile phase composed of aqueous 0.1% formic acid and methanol in the isocratic elution mode (3.5 min total analysis time). The method was validated in terms of selectivity, linearity, limit of detection (LOD), limit of quantification (LOQ), extraction yield, accuracy, precision and matrix effect. Satisfactory results were obtained in terms of linearity (r2 > 0.991) within the established concentration range. The LOD varied from 0.00005 to 0.04 µg mL−1 and the LOQ from 0.00023 to 0.13 µg mL−1. The extraction yields were between 80.1 and 82.2 %, while inter-day precision (n = 3 days) varied between 4.9 and 7.7 % and intra-day precision between 1.0 and 8.3 %. This approach presents as main advantages the ability to easily collect and store urine samples for further processing and the high sensitivity, reproducibility, and robustness of eVol®MEPS combined with UHPLC analysis, thus retrieving a fast and reliable assessment of oxidatively damaged DNA.
PMCID: PMC3590158  PMID: 23484022
12.  Quantification of Sulforaphane Mercapturic Acid Pathway Conjugates in Human Urine by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography and Isotope-Dilution Tandem Mass Spectrometry 
Chemical research in toxicology  2008;21(10):1991-1996.
We report validation of the first high-pressure liquid chromatography isotope-dilution mass spectrometry method to measure sulforaphane (SFN) and its glutathione-derived conjugates in human urine. As epidemiological evidence continues to mount that the consumption of a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables may reduce the risk of certain cancers, the development of analytical methodologies to accurately measure isothiocyanates (ITCs) and their subsequent metabolic products becomes paramount. SFN, the principal ITC produced by broccoli, is an effective chemopreventive agent with multiple modes of action. SFN and SFN conjugates have often been measured collectively utilizing a cyclocondensation assay with 1,2-benzenedithiol. More recently, some of the major SFN conjugates have been determined using mass spectrometry. Here, triple-quadrupole mass spectrometry has been coupled with the use of stable isotope-labeled internal standards of D8-SFN and all four D8-SFN mercapturic acid pathway conjugates to provide an accurate, precise, sensitive, and specific method for analysis of these compounds. Using urine samples collected during an earlier intervention with broccoli sprouts, the concentrations of SFN, SFN-cysteine, and the mercapturic acid SFN-N-acetylcysteine were sufficiently high such that as little as 50 nL of urine was required for analysis. Although each study participant received an equivalent dose of broccoli sprout preparation, the interindividual conversion of the precursor glucosinolate to SFN varied over 100-fold. These 98 urines provided an ideal sample set for examining the robustness of the assay. The mean urinary concentrations ± standard deviations in overnight voids following ingestion of the first dose were 4.7 ± 5.1, 0.03 ± 0.05, 0.06 ± 0.06, 18 ± 15, and 42 ± 23 nmol/mg creatinine for SFN, SFN-glutathione, SFN-cysteine-glycine, SFN-cysteine, and SFN-N-acetylcysteine, respectively. This method determines SFN and all four SFN glutathione-derived metabolites with minimal sample preparation and will be extremely useful in understanding the role of SFN-rich foods in preventing cancer and other chronic diseases.
PMCID: PMC3082854  PMID: 18729326
13.  Urine Collected From Diapers Can Be Used for 2-Dimensional Polyacrylamide Gel Electrophoresis (2D-PAGE) in Infants and Young Children 
Urinary proteomic profiling has potential to identify candidate biomarkers of renal injury in infants provided an adequate urine sample can be obtained. Although diapers are used to obtain urine for clinical evaluation, their use for proteomic analysis has not been investigated. We therefore performed feasibility studies on the use of diaper-extracted urine for 2-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (2D-PAGE). Pediatric waste urine (2–20 mL) was applied to gel-containing, non-gel and cotton-gauze diapers and then mechanically expressed. Urine volume and total protein were measured pre- and post-extraction. Proteins were separated via 2D-PAGE following application of urine (20–40 mL) to each matrix. 2D-PAGE was also performed on clinical specimens collected using each diaper type. Differences in the adsorption and retention of urine volume and protein were noted between matrices. Non-gel and cotton-gauze diapers provided the best protein/volume recovery and the lowest interference with the Bradford assay. 2D-PAGE was also successfully completed using urine samples from both cotton fiber matrices. Conversely, samples from low-gel diapers demonstrated poor protein separation and reproducibility. Diapers containing cotton-fiber matrices appear adequate for 2D-PAGE. Qualitative and quantitative analyses of resolved proteins using replicate, high resolution gels will be required, however, before diaper-extracted urine can be applied in proteomic profiling.
PMCID: PMC3037187  PMID: 21137001
diaper; pediatric; proteomics; urine
14.  Urinary excretion of RAS, BMP, and WNT pathway components in diabetic kidney disease 
Physiological Reports  2014;2(5):e12010.
The renin–angiotensin system (RAS), bone morphogenetic protein (BMP), and WNT pathways are involved in pathogenesis of diabetic kidney disease (DKD). This study characterized assays for urinary angiotensinogen (AGT), gremlin‐1, and matrix metalloproteinase 7 (MMP‐7), components of the RAS, BMP, and WNT pathways and examined their excretion in DKD. We measured urine AGT, gremlin‐1, and MMP‐7 in individuals with type 1 diabetes and prevalent DKD (n = 20) or longstanding (n = 61) or new‐onset (n = 10) type 1 diabetes without DKD. These urine proteins were also quantified in type 2 DKD (n = 11) before and after treatment with candesartan. The utilized immunoassays had comparable inter‐ and intra‐assay and intraindividual variation to assays used for urine albumin. Median (IQR) urine AGT concentrations were 226.0 (82.1, 550.3) and 13.0 (7.8, 20.0) μg/g creatinine in type 1 diabetes with and without DKD, respectively (P < 0.001). Median (IQR) urine gremlin‐1 concentrations were 48.6 (14.2, 254.1) and 3.6 (1.7, 5.5) μg/g, respectively (P < 0.001). Median (IQR) urine MMP‐7 concentrations were 6.0 (3.8, 10.5) and 1.0 (0.4, 2.9) μg/g creatinine, respectively (P < 0.001). Treatment with candesartan was associated with a reduction in median (IQR) urine AGT/creatinine from 23.5 (1.6, 105.1) to 2.0 (1.4, 13.7) μg/g, which did not reach statistical significance. Urine gremlin‐1 and MMP‐7 excretion did not decrease with candesartan. In conclusion, DKD is characterized by markedly elevated urine AGT, MMP‐7, and gremlin‐1. AGT decreased in response to RAS inhibition, suggesting that this marker reflects therapeutic response. Urinary components of the RAS, BMP, and WNT pathways may identify risk of DKD and aid development of novel therapeutics.
Urine angiotensinogen, matrix metalloproteinase‐7, and gremlin‐1 concentrations are markedly elevated in people with type 1 diabetes and kidney disease, compared with those with recently diagnosed type 1 diabetes or longstanding type 1 diabetes without kidney disease. Treatment with an inhibitor of the renin–angiotensin system tended to reduce urine angiotensinogen concentration, but not urine matrix metalloproteinase‐7 or gremlin‐1.
PMCID: PMC4098738  PMID: 24793984
BMP pathway; diabetic kidney disease; pathophysiology; renin–angiotensin system; WNT pathway
15.  Multicentre evaluation of the Boehringer Mannheim/Hitachi 917 analysis system 
The new selective access analysis system BM/Hitachi 917 was evaluated in an international multicentre study, mainly according to the ECCLS protocol for the evaluation of analysers in clinical chemistry. Forty-three different analytes, covering 56 different methods enzymes, substrates, electrolytes, specific proteins, drugs and urine applications were tested in seven European clinical chemistry laboratories. Additionally, the practicability of the BM/ Hitachi 917 was tested according to a standardized questionnaire. Within-run CVs (median of 3 days) for enzymes, substrates and electrolytes were <2% except for creatine-kinase MB isoform and lipase at low concentration. For proteins, drugs and urine analytes the within-run CVs were < 4% except for digoxin and albumin in urine. Between-day median CVs were generally < 3% for enzymes, substrates and electrolytes, and < 6% for proteins, drugs and urine analytes, except for lipase, creatine kinase and MB isoform, D-dimer, glycosylated haemoglobin, rheumatoid factors, digoxin, digitoxin, theophylline and albumin in urine in some materials. Linearity was found according to the test specifications or better and there were no relevant effects seen in drift and carry-over testing. The interference results clearly show that also for the BM/Hitachi 917 interference exists sometimes, as could be expected because of the chemistries applied. It is a situation that can be found in equivalent analysers as well. The accuracy is acceptable regarding a 95–105% recovery in standard reference material, with the exception of the creatinine Jaffé method. Most of the 160 method comparisons showed acceptable agreement according to our criteria: enzymes, substrates, urine analytes deviation of slope ± 5%, electrolytes ± 3%, and proteins and drugs ± 10%. The assessment of practicability for 14 groups of attributes resulted in a grading of one–three scores better for the BM/Hitachi 917 than the present laboratory situation. In conclusion, the results of the study showed good analytical performance and confirmed the usefulness of the system as a consolidated workstation in medium-sized to large clinical chemistry laboratories.
PMCID: PMC2548263  PMID: 18924859
16.  A LC–MS/MS method for the specific, sensitive, and simultaneous quantification of 5-aminolevulinic acid and porphobilinogen 
Accurate determinations of 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) and porphobilinogen (PBG) in physiologic fluids are required for the diagnosis and therapeutic monitoring of acute porphyrias. Current colorimetric methods are insensitive and over-estimate ALA and PBG due to poor specificity, while LC–MS/MS methods increase sensitivity, but have limited matrices. An LC–MS/MS method was developed to simultaneously determine ALA and PBG concentrations in fluids or tissues which were solid phase extracted, butanol derivatized, and quantitated by selective reaction monitoring using 13C5, 15N-ALA and 2,4-13C2-PBG internal standards. ALA was separated from interfering compounds on a reverse phase C8-column. For ALA and PBG, the matrix effects (87.3–105%) and process efficiencies (77.6–97.8% and 37.2–41.6%, respectively) were acceptable in plasma and urine matrices. The assay was highly sensitive for ALA and PBG (LLOQ = 0.05 µM with 25 µL urine or 100 µL plasma), and required ~4 h from extraction to results. ALA and PBG accuracy ranged from 88.2 to 110% (n = 10); intra- and inter-assay coefficients of variations were <10% for urine and plasma. In clinical applications, patients with mutation-confirmed acute porphyrias had normal to slightly increased urinary ALA and PBG levels when asymptomatic, and high levels during acute attacks, which decreased with hemin therapy. In AIP mice, baseline ALA and PBG levels in urine, plasma, and liver were increased after phenobarbital induction 28-/63-, 42-/266-, and 13-/316-fold, respectively. This LC–MS/MS method is rapid, specific, highly sensitive, accurate, and simultaneously measures ALA and PBG in urine, plasma, and tissues permitting porphyria clinical diagnoses, therapeutic monitoring, and research.
PMCID: PMC3269068  PMID: 21783436
5-Aminolevulinic acid; Porphobilinogen; Acute intermittent porphyria; Tandem mass spectrometry
17.  Human metabolic profiles are stably controlled by genetic and environmental variation 
A comprehensive variation map of the human metabolome identifies genetic and stable-environmental sources as major drivers of metabolite concentrations. The data suggest that sample sizes of a few thousand are sufficient to detect metabolite biomarkers predictive of disease.
We designed a longitudinal twin study to characterize the genetic, stable-environmental, and longitudinally fluctuating influences on metabolite concentrations in two human biofluids—urine and plasma—focusing specifically on the representative subset of metabolites detectable by 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) spectroscopy.We identified widespread genetic and stable-environmental influences on the (urine and plasma) metabolomes, with (30 and 42%) attributable on average to familial sources, and (47 and 60%) attributable to longitudinally stable sources.Ten of the metabolites annotated in the study are estimated to have >60% familial contribution to their variation in concentration.Our findings have implications for the design and interpretation of 1H NMR-based molecular epidemiology studies. On the basis of the stable component of variation quantified in the current paper, we specified a model of disease association under which we inferred that sample sizes of a few thousand should be sufficient to detect disease-predictive metabolite biomarkers.
Metabolites are small molecules involved in biochemical processes in living systems. Their concentration in biofluids, such as urine and plasma, can offer insights into the functional status of biological pathways within an organism, and reflect input from multiple levels of biological organization—genetic, epigenetic, transcriptomic, and proteomic—as well as from environmental and lifestyle factors. Metabolite levels have the potential to indicate a broad variety of deviations from the ‘normal' physiological state, such as those that accompany a disease, or an increased susceptibility to disease. A number of recent studies have demonstrated that metabolite concentrations can be used to diagnose disease states accurately. A more ambitious goal is to identify metabolite biomarkers that are predictive of future disease onset, providing the possibility of intervention in susceptible individuals.
If an extreme concentration of a metabolite is to serve as an indicator of disease status, it is usually important to know the distribution of metabolite levels among healthy individuals. It is also useful to characterize the sources of that observed variation in the healthy population. A proportion of that variation—the heritable component—is attributable to genetic differences between individuals, potentially at many genetic loci. An effective, molecular indicator of a heritable, complex disease is likely to have a substantive heritable component. Non-heritable biological variation in metabolite concentrations can arise from a variety of environmental influences, such as dietary intake, lifestyle choices, general physical condition, composition of gut microflora, and use of medication. Variation across a population in stable-environmental influences leads to long-term differences between individuals in their baseline metabolite levels. Dynamic environmental pressures lead to short-term fluctuations within an individual about their baseline level. A metabolite whose concentration changes substantially in response to short-term pressures is relatively unlikely to offer long-term prediction of disease. In summary, the potential suitability of a metabolite to predict disease is reflected by the relative contributions of heritable and stable/unstable-environmental factors to its variation in concentration across the healthy population.
Studies involving twins are an established technique for quantifying the heritable component of phenotypes in human populations. Monozygotic (MZ) twins share the same DNA genome-wide, while dizygotic (DZ) twins share approximately half their inherited DNA, as do ordinary siblings. By comparing the average extent of phenotypic concordance within MZ pairs to that within DZ pairs, it is possible to quantify the heritability of a trait, and also to quantify the familiality, which refers to the combination of heritable and common-environmental effects (i.e., environmental influences shared by twins in a pair). In addition to incorporating twins into the study design, it is useful to quantify the phenotype in some individuals at multiple time points. The longitudinal aspect of such a study allows environmental effects to be decomposed into those that affect the phenotype over the short term and those that exert stable influence.
For the current study, urine and blood samples were collected from a cohort of MZ and DZ twins, with some twins donating samples on two occasions several months apart. Samples were analysed by 1H nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) spectroscopy—an untargeted, discovery-driven technique for quantifying metabolite concentrations in biological samples. The application of 1H NMR to a biological sample creates a spectrum, made up of multiple peaks, with each peak's size quantitatively representing the concentration of its corresponding hydrogen-containing metabolite.
In each biological sample in our study, we extracted a full set of peaks, and thereby quantified the concentrations of all common plasma and urine metabolites detectable by 1H NMR. We developed bespoke statistical methods to decompose the observed concentration variation at each metabolite peak into that originating from familial, individual-environmental, and unstable-environmental sources.
We quantified the variability landscape across all common metabolite peaks in the urine and plasma 1H NMR metabolomes. We annotated a subset of peaks with a total of 65 metabolites; the variance decompositions for these are shown in Figure 1. Ten metabolites' concentrations were estimated to have familial contributions in excess of 60%. The average proportion of stable variation across all extracted metabolite peaks was estimated to be 47% in the urine samples and 60% in the plasma samples; the average estimated familiality was 30% for urine and 42% for plasma. These results comprise the first quantitative variation map of the 1H NMR metabolome. The identification and quantification of substantive widespread stability provides support for the use of these biofluids in molecular epidemiology studies. On the basis of our findings, we performed power calculations for a hypothetical study searching for predictive disease biomarkers among 1H NMR-detectable urine and plasma metabolites. Our calculations suggest that sample sizes of 2000–5000 should allow reliable identification of disease-predictive metabolite concentrations explaining 5–10% of disease risk, while greater sample sizes of 5000–20 000 would be required to identify metabolite concentrations explaining 1–2% of disease risk.
1H Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy (1H NMR) is increasingly used to measure metabolite concentrations in sets of biological samples for top-down systems biology and molecular epidemiology. For such purposes, knowledge of the sources of human variation in metabolite concentrations is valuable, but currently sparse. We conducted and analysed a study to create such a resource. In our unique design, identical and non-identical twin pairs donated plasma and urine samples longitudinally. We acquired 1H NMR spectra on the samples, and statistically decomposed variation in metabolite concentration into familial (genetic and common-environmental), individual-environmental, and longitudinally unstable components. We estimate that stable variation, comprising familial and individual-environmental factors, accounts on average for 60% (plasma) and 47% (urine) of biological variation in 1H NMR-detectable metabolite concentrations. Clinically predictive metabolic variation is likely nested within this stable component, so our results have implications for the effective design of biomarker-discovery studies. We provide a power-calculation method which reveals that sample sizes of a few thousand should offer sufficient statistical precision to detect 1H NMR-based biomarkers quantifying predisposition to disease.
PMCID: PMC3202796  PMID: 21878913
biomarker; 1H nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy; metabolome-wide association study; top-down systems biology; variance decomposition
18.  An Evaluation of Commercial Fluorescent Bead-Based Luminex Cytokine Assays 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(7):e2535.
The recent introduction of fluorescent bead-based technology, allowing the measurement of multiples analytes in a single 25–50 µl sample has revolutionized the study of cytokine responses. However, such multiplex approaches may compromise the ability of these assays to accurately measure actual cytokine levels. This study evaluates the performance of three commercially available multiplex cytokine fluorescent bead-based immunoassays (Bio-Rad's Cytokine 17-plex kit; LINCO Inc's 29-plex kit; and RnD System's Fluorokine-Multi Analyte Profiling (MAP) base kit A and B). The LINCO Inc kit was found to be the most sensitive assay for measuring concentrations of multiple recombinant cytokines in samples that had been spiked with serial dilutions of the standard provided by the manufacturer, followed respectively by the RnD Fluorokine-(MAP) and Bio-Rad 17-plex kits. A positive correlation was found in the levels of IFN-γ measured in antigen stimulated whole blood culture supernatants by the LINCO Inc 29-plex, RnD Fluorokine-(MAP) and RnD system IFN-γ Quantikine ELISA kits across a panel of controls and stimulated samples. Researchers should take the limitation of such multiplexed assays into account when planning experiments and the most appropriate use for these tests may currently be as screening tools for the selection of promising markers for analysis by more sensitive techniques.
PMCID: PMC2432042  PMID: 18596971
19.  Development and evaluation of immunoassay for zeranol in bovine urine*  
A high affinity polyclonal antibody-based enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was developed for the quantification of zeranol in bovine urine. On the basis of urine matrix studies, the optimized dilution factors producing insignificant matrix interference were selected as 1:5 in pretreatment. In the improved ELISA, the linear response range was between 0.02 and 1 μg/ml , and the detection limit was 0.02 μg/ml for the assay. The overall recoveries and the coefficients of variation (CVs) were in the range of 82%~127% and 3.5%~8.8%, respectively. Thirty-six bovine urine samples spiked with zeranol (ranging from 0.2 to 10 μg/ml) were detected by the ELISA and liquid chromatography (LC) method, and good correlations were obtained between the two methods (R 2=0.9643). We conclude that this improved ELISA is suitable tool for a mass zeranol screening and can be an alternative for the conventional LC method for zeranol in bovine urine.
PMCID: PMC2100163  PMID: 18257125
Zeranol; Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA); Bovine urine
20.  A comparison of two colorimetric assays, based upon Lowry and Bradford techniques, to estimate total protein in soil extracts 
Soil Biology & Biochemistry  2013;67(100):166-173.
Soil extracts usually contain large quantities of dissolved humified organic material, typically reflected by high polyphenolic content. Since polyphenols seriously confound quantification of extracted protein, minimising this interference is important to ensure measurements are representative. Although the Bradford colorimetric assay is used routinely in soil science for rapid quantification protein in soil-extracts, it has several limitations. We therefore investigated an alternative colorimetric technique based on the Lowry assay (frequently used to measure protein and humic substances as distinct pools in microbial biofilms). The accuracies of both the Bradford assay and a modified Lowry microplate method were compared in factorial combination. Protein was quantified in soil-extracts (extracted with citrate), including standard additions of model protein (BSA) and polyphenol (Sigma H1675-2). Using the Lowry microplate assay described, no interfering effects of citrate were detected even with concentrations up to 5 times greater than are typically used to extract soil protein. Moreover, the Bradford assay was found to be highly susceptible to two simultaneous and confounding artefacts: 1) the colour development due to added protein was greatly inhibited by polyphenol concentration, and 2) substantial colour development was caused directly by the polyphenol addition. In contrast, the Lowry method enabled distinction between colour development from protein and non-protein origin, providing a more accurate quantitative analysis. These results suggest that the modified-Lowry method is a more suitable measure of extract protein (defined by standard equivalents) because it is less confounded by the high polyphenolic content which is so typical of soil extracts.
•Bradford and Lowry techniques for measuring protein in soil extracts were compared.•We found polyphenol content affected Bradford estimations substantially more than Lowry.•Citrate (often used to extract soil protein) was not found to be problematic for the Lowry assay.•Using the Lowry microplate method, analytical response due to polyphenol and protein is ascribed.
PMCID: PMC3819989  PMID: 24302786
Total protein determination; Colorimetric protein assay; Polyphenol interference; Glomalin related soil protein; Humic acid; GRSP; BRSP; EPS; Soil microbial biofilm; Extracellular polymeric substances
21.  Urine Specimens from Pregnant and Nonpregnant Women Inhibitory to Amplification of Chlamydia trachomatis Nucleic Acid by PCR, Ligase Chain Reaction, and Transcription-Mediated Amplification: Identification of Urinary Substances Associated with Inhibition and Removal of Inhibitory Activity 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1998;36(11):3122-3126.
The presence of endogenous amplification inhibitors in urine may produce false-negative results for the detection of Chlamydia trachomatis nucleic acids by tests such as PCR, ligase chain reaction (LCR), and transcription-mediated amplification (TMA). Consecutive urine specimens from 101 pregnant women and 287 nonpregnant women submitted for urinalysis were processed for C. trachomatis detection. Aliquots were spiked with the equivalent of one C. trachomatis elementary body and were tested by three commercial assays: AMPLICOR CT/NG, Chlamydia LCX, and Chlamydia TMA. The prevalence of inhibitors resulting in complete inhibition of amplification was 4.9% for PCR, 2.6% for LCR, and 7.5% for TMA. In addition, all three assays were partially inhibited by additional urine specimens. Only PCR was more often inhibited by urine from pregnant women than by urine from nonpregnant women (9.9 versus 3.1%; P = 0.011). A complete urinalysis including dipstick and a microscopic examination was performed. Logistic regression analysis revealed that the following substances were associated with amplification inhibition: beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (odds ratio [OR], 3.3) and crystals (OR, 3.3) for PCR, nitrites for LCR (OR, 14.4), and hemoglobin (OR, 3.3), nitrites (OR, 3.3), and crystals (OR, 3.3) for TMA. Aliquots of each inhibitory urine specimen were stored at 4 and −70°C overnight or were extracted with phenol-chloroform and then retested at dilutions of 1:1, 1:4, and 1:10. Most inhibition was removed by storage overnight at 4 or −70°C and a dilution of 1:10 (84% for PCR, 100% for LCR, and 92% for TMA). Five urine specimens (three for PCR and two for TMA) required phenol-chloroform extraction to remove inhibitors. The results indicate that the prevalence of nucleic acid amplification inhibitors in female urine is different for each technology, that this prevalence may be predicted by the presence of urinary factors, and that storage and dilution remove most of the inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC105286  PMID: 9774550
22.  Radial line-scans as representative sampling strategy in dried-droplet laser ablation of liquid samples deposited on pre-cut filter paper disks☆ 
Spectrochimica Acta. Part B  2014;101:123-129.
Nebulising liquid samples and using the aerosol thus obtained for further analysis is the standard method in many current analytical techniques, also with inductively coupled plasma (ICP)-based devices. With such a set-up, quantification via external calibration is usually straightforward for samples with aqueous or close-to-aqueous matrix composition. However, there is a variety of more complex samples. Such samples can be found in medical, biological, technological and industrial contexts and can range from body fluids, like blood or urine, to fuel additives or fermentation broths. Specialized nebulizer systems or careful digestion and dilution are required to tackle such demanding sample matrices. One alternative approach is to convert the liquid into a dried solid and to use laser ablation for sample introduction. Up to now, this approach required the application of internal standards or matrix-adjusted calibration due to matrix effects. In this contribution, we show a way to circumvent these matrix effects while using simple external calibration for quantification. The principle of representative sampling that we propose uses radial line-scans across the dried residue. This compensates for centro-symmetric inhomogeneities typically observed in dried spots. The effectiveness of the proposed sampling strategy is exemplified via the determination of phosphorus in biochemical fermentation media. However, the universal viability of the presented measurement protocol is postulated. Detection limits using laser ablation-ICP-optical emission spectrometry were in the order of 40 μg mL− 1 with a reproducibility of 10 % relative standard deviation (n = 4, concentration = 10 times the quantification limit). The reported sensitivity is fit-for-purpose in the biochemical context described here, but could be improved using ICP-mass spectrometry, if future analytical tasks would require it. Trueness of the proposed method was investigated by cross-validation with conventional liquid measurements, and by analyzing IAEA-153 reference material (Trace Elements in Milk Powder); a good agreement with the certified value for phosphorus was obtained.
•Sample preparation via deposition of liquids on pre-cut filter disks.•Sample introduction via laser ablation of dried filters.•Representative sampling avoids bias.•Signal quantification via external calibration and aqueous standard solutions.•Alternative approach for quantifying P in challenging matrix.
PMCID: PMC4210661  PMID: 25382929
Laser ablation; ICP-OES; dried-droplet quantification; Biochemical fermentation
23.  Simultaneous multi-analyte urinary protein assay for bladder cancer detection 
BMC Biotechnology  2014;14:24.
The ability to accurately measure multiple proteins simultaneously in a single assay has the potential to markedly improve the efficiency of a myriad of clinical assays. Here, we tested the performance of a new, multiplex protein array platform to quantitate three bladder cancer-associated proteins in urine samples. The following analytes, interleukin 8 (IL8), matrix metallopeptidase 9 (MMP9), and vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) were monitored using Q-plex, a customized multiplex ELISA system from Quansys Biosciences, and individual target commercial ELISA kits. The performance of the two approaches was compared by evaluating the diagnostic accuracy of the biomarker assays in samples from a cohort of 73 subjects of known bladder cancer status.
The combination biomarker panel analyses revealed an AUROC value of 0.9476 for the Q-plex assay, and 0.9119 for the combination of the single-target ELISA assays. The Q-plex assay achieved an overall diagnostic sensitivity of 0.93 and specificity of 0.81, and the individual target ELISA assays achieved an overall sensitivity of 0.77 and specificity of 0.91.
Based on these encouraging preliminary data, we believe that the Q-Plex technology is a viable platform that can be exploited as an efficient, highly accurate tool to quantitate multiplex panels of diagnostic proteins in biologic specimens.
PMCID: PMC4230247  PMID: 24684904
Biomarkers; Bladder cancer; Q-plex; Protein; Urine
24.  Long-Term Biological Variation of Serum Protein Electrophoresis M-Spike, Urine M-Spike, and Monoclonal Serum Free Light Chain Quantification: Implications for Monitoring Monoclonal Gammopathies 
Clinical chemistry  2011;57(12):1687-1692.
We analyzed serial data in patients with clinically stable monoclonal gammopathy to determine the total variation of serum M-spikes [measured with serum protein electrophoresis (SPEP)], urine M-spikes [measured with urine protein electrophoresis (UPEP)], and monoclonal serum free light chain (FLC) concentrations measured with immunoassay.
Patients to be studied were identified by (a) no treatment during the study interval, (b) no change in diagnosis and <5 g/L change in serum M-spike over the course of observation; (c) performance of all 3 tests (SPEP, UPEP, FLC immunoassay) in at least 3 serial samples that were obtained 9 months to 5 years apart; (d) serum M-spike ≥10 g/L, urine M-spike ≥200 mg/24 h, or clonal FLC ≥100 mg/L. The total CV was calculated for each method.
Among the cohort of 158 patients, 90 had measurable serum M-spikes, 25 had urine M-spikes, and 52 had measurable serum FLC abnormalities. The CVs were calculated for serial SPEP M-spikes (8.1%), UPEP M-spikes (35.8%), and serum FLC concentrations (28.4%). Combining these CVs and the interassay analytical CVs, we calculated the biological CV for the serum M-spike (7.8%), urine M-spike (35.5%), and serum FLC concentration (27.8%).
The variations in urine M-spike and serum FLC measurements during patient monitoring are similar and are larger than those for serum M-spikes. In addition, in this group of stable patients, a measurable serum FLC concentration was available twice as often as a measurable urine M-spike.
PMCID: PMC3736848  PMID: 21980167
25.  Effects of serum and plasma matrices on multiplex immunoassays 
Immunologic research  2014;58(0):224-233.
Multiplexed fluorescence or electrochemiluminescence immunoassays of soluble cytokines are commonly performed in the context of human serum or plasma, to look for disease biomarkers and to monitor the immune system in a simple and minimally invasive way. These assays provide challenges due to the complexities of the matrix (serum or plasma) and the presence of many cytokines near the limit of detection of the assay. Here, we compare the readout of matched serum and plasma samples, which are generally correlated. However, a subset of cytokines usually have higher levels in serum, and the non-specific background is significantly increased in serum versus plasma. Presumably as a result of this non-specific background, disease-related decreases in low-abundance cytokines can sometimes be detected in plasma but not in serum. We further show, through spike recovery experiments, that both serum and plasma inhibit the readout of many cytokines, with some variability between donors, but with serum causing greater inhibition than plasma in many cases. Standard diluents from different vendors can partially reverse this inhibition to varying degrees. Dilution of samples can also partly overcome the inhibitory effect of the matrix. We also show that dilution is nonlinear and differentially affects various cytokines. Together, these data argue that (1) plasma is a more sensitive matrix for detecting changes in certain low-abundance cytokines; (2) calculation of concentrations in serum or plasma matrices is inherently inaccurate; and (3) dilution of samples should not be assumed to be linear, i.e., all comparisons need to be made among similarly diluted samples.
PMCID: PMC4332596  PMID: 24522699
Luminex; Immunoassay; Serum; Plasma; Cytokine

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