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Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM)

Published in Association with the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFLM)

Editor-in-Chief: Plebani, Mario

Ed. by Gillery, Philippe / Greaves, Ronda / Lackner, Karl J. / Lippi, Giuseppe / Melichar, Bohuslav / Payne, Deborah A. / Schlattmann, Peter

IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 3.556

CiteScore 2017: 2.34

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Volume 48, Issue 1


Biological variation of free plasma amino acids in healthy individuals

Zoraida Corte
  • Servicio de Análisis Clínicos, Hospital San Agustín, Avilés, Principado de Asturias, Spain
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Rafael Venta
  • Servicio de Análisis Clínicos, Hospital San Agustín, Avilés, Principado de Asturias, Spain
  • Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Oviedo, Principado de Asturias, Spain
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2009-11-25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/CCLM.2010.008


Background: Biological variation data for free plasma amino acids are lacking from the more comprehensive databases. Therefore, we determined the intra- and inter-individual components of variation in healthy subjects. These data were used to define desirable goals for imprecision, bias and total error, indices of individuality and reference change values.

Methods: Plasma samples were collected from 11 volunteers at weekly intervals over 5 weeks. Free plasma amino acids were analyzed by reversed-phase HPLC and analytical and biological variation data were derived using ANOVA.

Results: Intra-individual coefficients of variation ranged from 9.5% to 46.4%, with lower values among the essential amino acids. The mean inter-individual coefficient of variation was 46.6% and was higher than intra-individual values for all amino acids. Thus, indices of individuality were below 0.8. Reference change values ranged from 30.9% to 128.4% and total error values ranged from 15.2% to 61.0%.

Conclusions: Plasma amino acids exhibit relatively low intra-individual coefficients of variation, with essential amino acids showing tighter homeostatic control. Analytical quality goals can be reasonably achieved with current methods. Reference intervals are of limited value in the detection of unusual results in an individual. Therefore, comparison of serial results by means of the reference change values is recommended.

Clin Chem Lab Med 2010;48:99–104.

Keywords: analytical quality specifications; biological variation; plasma amino acids

About the article

Corresponding author: Dr. Rafael Venta, Servicio de Análisis Clínicos, Hospital San Agustín, Camino de Heros 6, 33400 Avilés, Asturias, Spain Phone: +34 985 123 014, Fax: +34 985 123 025,

Received: 2009-07-15

Accepted: 2009-09-10

Published Online: 2009-11-25

Published in Print: 2010-01-01

Citation Information: Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, Volume 48, Issue 1, Pages 99–104, ISSN (Online) 1437-4331, ISSN (Print) 1434-6621, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/CCLM.2010.008.

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