Simple method for alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency screening by use of dried blood spot specimens

Eur Respir J. 2000 Jun;15(6):1111-5. doi: 10.1034/j.1399-3003.2000.01521.x.


The use of dried blood spot (DBS) specimens in quantitative alpha1-antitrypsin (alpha1-AT) detection or genetic analysis is limited because protein levels in the samples are low and they contain components that can interfere with polymerase chain reaction amplification. A methodological adaptation was developed to overcome these drawbacks which is discussed here. The study population consisted of 200 healthy volunteers and 300 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). DBS specimens were tested for alpha1-AT concentration using a modified nephelometric assay and phenotyped with an isoelectric focusing method. Genetic diagnosis was established by deoxyribonucleic acid sequencing using a simple purification procedure to remove contaminants. The nephelometric method showed a detection limit of 0.284 mg x dL(-1), corresponding to a serum concentration of 13 mg x dL(-1). The correlation coefficient between alpha1-AT concentrations in DBS versus serum samples was R2=0.8674 (p<0.0001). All 200 healthy individuals had DBS alpha1-AT concentrations >1.9 mg x dL(-1), corresponding to 114 mg x dL(-1) in serum samples. One hundred and twenty-five COPD patients (42%) showed alpha1-AT values <1.8 mg x dL(-1). Twenty patients with the PIZ phenotype had alpha1-AT values lower than 0.64 mg x dL(-1). On the basis of genotyping, one COPD patient was classified as heterozygous (PIMM(heerlen)). Selective elution of contaminants resulted in optimal alpha(1)1-antitrypsin genotyping. Because of its sensitivity and excellent correlation with the standard method, the dried blood spot quantitative assay is a reliable tool for routine measurement of alpha1-antitrypsin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Specimen Collection
  • Genetic Testing / methods*
  • Genetic Testing / standards
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / blood
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / genetics
  • Nephelometry and Turbidimetry
  • Phenotype
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / standards
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin / analysis*
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin / genetics
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin Deficiency / blood
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin Deficiency / diagnosis*
  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin Deficiency / genetics


  • alpha 1-Antitrypsin