Analysis of human plasma proteins: a focus on sample collection and separation using free-flow electrophoresis

Expert Rev Proteomics. 2008 Aug;5(4):571-87. doi: 10.1586/14789450.5.4.571.


Due to ease of accessibility, plasma has become the sample of choice for proteomics studies directed towards biomarker discovery intended for use in diagnostics, prognostics and even in theranostics. The result of these extensive efforts is a long list of potential biomarkers, very few of which have led to clinical utility. Why have so many potential biomarkers failed validation? Herein, we address certain issues encountered, which complicate biomarker discovery efforts originating from plasma. The advantages of stabilizing the sample at collection by the addition of protease inhibitors are discussed. The principles of free-flow electrophoresis (FFE) separation are provided together with examples applying to various studies. Finally, particular attention is given to plasma or serum analysis using multidimensional separation strategies into which the FFE is incorporated. The advantages of using FFE separation in these workflows are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Proteins / analysis*
  • Blood Proteins / isolation & purification*
  • Electrophoresis / instrumentation
  • Electrophoresis / methods*
  • Humans
  • Proteomics*


  • Blood Proteins