Temperature and time-dependent effects of delayed blood processing on oxylipin concentrations in human plasma

Christopher E. Ramsden, Zhi Xin Yuan, Mark S. Horowitz, Daisy Zamora, Sharon F. Majchrzak-Hong, Beverly S. Muhlhausler, Ameer Y. Taha, Maria Makrides, Robert A. Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Oxidized derivatives of polyunsaturated fatty acids, collectively known as oxylipins, are labile bioactive mediators with diverse roles in human physiology and pathology. Oxylipins are increasingly being measured in plasma collected in clinical studies to investigate biological mechanisms and as pharmacodynamic biomarkers for nutrient-based and drug-based interventions. Whole blood is generally stored either on ice or at room temperature prior to processing. However, the potential impacts of delays in processing, and of temperature prior to processing, on oxylipin concentrations are incompletely understood. Objective: To evaluate the effects of delayed processing of blood samples in a timeframe that is typical of a clinical laboratory setting, using typical storage temperatures, on concentrations of representative unesterified oxylipins measured by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Design: Whole blood (drawn on three separate occasions from a single person) was collected into 5 mL purple-top potassium-EDTA tubes and stored for 0, 10, 20, 30, 60 or 120 min at room temperature or on wet ice, followed by centrifugation at 4 °C for 10 min with plasma collection. Each sample was run in duplicate, therefore there were six tubes and up to six data points at each time point for each oxylipin at each condition (ice/room temperature). Representative oxylipins derived from arachidonic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, and linoleic acid were quantified by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Longitudinal models were used to estimate differences between temperature groups 2 h after blood draw. Results: We found that most oxylipins measured in human plasma in traditional potassium-EDTA tubes are reasonably stable when stored on ice for up to 2 h prior to processing, with little evidence of auto-oxidation in either condition. By contrast, in whole blood stored at room temperature, substantial time-dependent increases in the 12-lipoxygenase-derived (12-HETE, 14-HDHA) and platelet-derived (thromboxane B2) oxylipins were observed. Conclusion: These findings suggest that certain plasma oxylipins can be measured with reasonable accuracy despite delayed processing for up to 2 h when blood is stored on ice prior to centrifugation. 12-Lipoxygenase- and platelet-derived oxylipins may be particularly sensitive to post-collection artifact with delayed processing at room temperature. Future studies are needed to determine impacts of duration and temperature of centrifugation on oxylipin concentrations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-37
Number of pages7
JournalProstaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Nov 2019


  • Blood processing
  • Oxylipins
  • Peroxidation
  • Plasma
  • Stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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