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Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM)

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Long-term stability of endogenous B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) and amino terminal proBNP (NT-proBNP) in frozen plasma samples

Thomas Mueller
  • Department of Laboratory Medicine, Konventhospital Barmherzige Brueder, Linz, Austria
/ Alfons Gegenhuber
  • Department of Internal Medicine, Konventhospital Barmherzige Brueder, Linz, Austria
/ Benjamin Dieplinger
  • Department of Laboratory Medicine, Konventhospital Barmherzige Brueder, Linz, Austria
/ Werner Poelz
  • Department of Applied System Sciences and Statistics, University of Linz, Linz, Austria
/ Meinhard Haltmayer
  • Department of Laboratory Medicine, Konventhospital Barmherzige Brueder, Linz, Austria


The aim of the present study was to assess the long-term stability of endogenous B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) and amino terminal proBNP (NT-proBNP) in plasma samples stored at –20°C without addition of protease inhibitors (e.g., aprotinin). Stability of BNP and NT-proBNP was tested in 60 EDTA plasma samples with BNP values between 30 and 420 pg/ml. Initial BNP and NT-proBNP plasma concentrations were determined within four hours after blood collection using the AxSYM BNP and the Elecsys NT-proBNP assays. Subsequently, all samples were stored at –20°C and were thawed for the second BNP and NT-proBNP determination on the two instruments after one day, 30 days, 60 days, 90 days and 120 days, respectively. Mean recovery (i.e., residual immunoreactivity) of BNP and NT-proBNP expressed in percent of the initial value for the given time interval of storage was calculated. Mean recovery of BNP was less than 70% after one day of storage at –20°C and decreased to less than 50% after two to four months of storage (e.g., recovery of endogenous BNP after three months of storage at –20°C ranging from 0% to 71%). In contrast, mean recovery of NT-proBNP was generally greater than 90%, irrespective of the duration of storage at –20°C (e.g., recovery of endogenous NT-proBNP after three months of storage at –20°C ranging from 91% to 112%). In conclusion, the determination of endogenous BNP with the AxSYM assay using frozen plasma samples may not be valid under the conditions tested. In contrast, NT-proBNP as measured by the Elecsys assay may be stored at –20°C for at least four months without a relevant loss of the immunoreactive analyte.

Keywords: evaluation; heart failure; natriuretic peptides; plasma; stability

Corresponding author: Meinhard Haltmayer, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Konventhospital Barmherzige Brueder, Seilerstaette 2, 4021 Linz, Austria. Phone: +43-732-7897-2201, Fax: +43-732-7897-2299, E-mail:

Received: February 23, 2004

Accepted: April 27, 2004

Published in Print: 2004-08-01

Citation Information: Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine. Volume 42, Issue 8, Pages 942–944, ISSN (Print) 1434-6621, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/CCLM.2004.153, August 2004

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