Sample Processing and Stability for Urine Biomarker Studies

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BACKGROUND: Current methods of processing and storing urine samples have not been compared systematically to determine optimal conditions for advancing research on urinary biomarkers. Often, preanalytical handling is nonideal, especially considering the COVID-19 pandemic; consequently, we compared the effects of different short-term storage and processing methods on urinary biomarker measurements. METHODS: Spot urine samples were collected via a Foley catheter from 20 hospitalized patients from the Yale New Haven Hospital within 48 hours postcardiac surgery. The effects of 3 urine storage and processing methods on biomarkers were tested: (a) 48-hour temporary storage at 4 °C prior to freezing at -80 °C, (b) 48-hour temporary storage at 25 °C prior to freezing at -80 °C, and (c) no centrifugation and immediate storage at -80 °C. Established Meso-Scale Device assay methods were used to measure the urine concentrations of 18 biomarkers: interferon gamma (IFN-ɣ), interleukin (IL)-10, IL-12p70, IL-13, IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-18, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), epidermal growth factor (EGF), neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL), osteopontin (OPN), uromodulin (UMOD), kidney injury molecule-1 (KIM-1), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), and chitinase-3-like protein 1 (YKL-40). RESULTS: Measurements of most biomarkers investigated remained stable after temporary storage at 4 °C. IL-6, IL-8, KIM-1, MCP-1, YKL-40, EGF, and NGAL were stable across all 3 processing conditions. IL-12p70 and IL-4 demonstrated significant differences in all tested conditions compared to the reference standard. CONCLUSIONS: We identified several notable biomarkers that are robust to variations in preanalytical techniques and can be reliably investigated with nonideal handling conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1628-1634
Number of pages7
JournalThe journal of applied laboratory medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021


  • acute kidney injury
  • biospecimen handling
  • biospecimen storage
  • protein stability
  • urinalysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)