Investigation of the 12-month stability and detectable metabolomes of dried blood and urine spots applying untargeted UHPLC-MS metabolomic assays

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Colleges, School and Institutes


The use of dried blood spot (DBS) and dried urine spot (DUS) samples represents an attractive opportunity for researchers in biomedical metabolomics to collect whole blood and urine samples in the absence of a processing laboratory and so to allow collection in remote areas or in longitudinal studies away from the clinic. The 12-month stability of the thousands of metabolites present in these biofluids and the applicability of DBS and DUS samples for untargeted metabolomics applications has not previously been investigated in detail and compared to blood and urine samples. Here, the 12-month stability of DBS and DUS at different storage temperatures (-20, +4, and +21 °C) have been compared to plasma and urine biofluids stored at the same storage temperatures and time. Samples were analyzed applying complementary HILIC and C 18 reversed-phase UHPLC-MS untargeted metabolomic assays. Results show that metabolites demonstrate increased stability in DBS and DUS compared to whole blood and urine at all storage temperatures and times. DBS and DUS stored at +21 °C are stable for up to 4 weeks but are not stable over a 1 year period. DBS and DUS showed good stability when stored at -20 °C for 1 year. We recommend that DBS and DUS samples are collected and transported within 28 days at room temperature and are stored for longer periods of time at -20 or -80 °C. The metabolomes of DUS samples and urine were very similar but the metabolome of DBS included additional metabolites not detected in plasma and therefore proposed to be released from cells in whole blood.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14306−14313
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number22
Early online date16 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2019

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