The effect of blood sampling and preanalytical processing on human N-glycome

Glycome modulations have been described in the onset and progression of many diseases. Thus, many studies have proposed glycans from blood glycoproteins as disease markers. Astonishingly, little effort has been given unraveling preanalytical conditions potentially influencing glycan analysis prior to blood biomarker studies. In this work, we evaluate for the first time the effect of hemolysis, storage and blood collection, but also influence of various times and temperatures between individual processing steps on the total N-glycome and on a glycan-biomarker score. Venous blood was collected from 10 healthy donors in 11 blood collection tubes with different additives, processed variously to obtain 16 preanalytical variables and N-glycans released from serum or plasma were analyzed by MALDI-TOF-MS and capillary electrophoresis coupled with fluorescence detection (CE-LIF) for the first time. Long time storage of deep frozen samples at -20°C or -80°C exerted only a minor influence on the glycome as demonstrated by CE-LIF. The N-glycome was very stable evidenced by MALDI-TOF when stored at 4°C for at least 48 hours and blood collected in tubes devoid of additives. The glycome was stable upon storage after centrifugation and aliquoting, which is an important information considering future diagnostic applications. Hemolysis, however, negatively correlated with an established glycan score for ovarian cancer, when evaluated by MALDI-TOF-MS measurement by affecting relative intensities of certain glycans, which could lead to false negative / positive results in glycan biomarker studies.