Reproducibility of serum cytokines and growth factors

Cytokine. 2009 Jan;45(1):44-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2008.10.014. Epub 2008 Dec 5.


Background: In most studies, circulating biomarkers are usually assessed from a single sample, assuming that this single measurement represents the long-term biomarker status of the individual. Such an assumption is rarely tested although it may not be valid for all biomarkers. The objective of this study was to investigate the temporal reproducibility of a panel of cytokines and growth factors.

Methods: Thirty-five postmenopausal women with two annual visits and 30 premenopausal women with three annual visits were randomly selected from the participants in an existing prospective cohort. A total of 23 serum cytokines, nine growth factors and C-reactive protein (CRP) were measured using the Luminex xMap technology. In addition, for eight biomarkers, regular and high sensitivity (hs) assays were compared.

Results: The biomarkers with adequate (>60%) detection rates and acceptable (> or =0.55) intra-class correlation coefficients (ICCs) were: hsIL-1beta, IL-1RA, hsIL-2, hsIL-4, hsIL-5, hsIL-6, hsIL-10, IL-12p40, hsIL-12p70, hsTNF-alpha, TNF-R1, TNF-R2, CRP, HGF, NGF, and EGFR. The remaining biomarkers either had low temporal reproducibility or were undetectable in more than 40% of samples.

Conclusions: The results suggest that 16 of the 41 biomarkers measured with Luminex technology showed sufficient sensitivity and temporal reproducibility in sera.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biological Assay / instrumentation*
  • Biological Assay / methods
  • Biological Assay / standards*
  • Biomarkers / metabolism*
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / blood*
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause / blood
  • Random Allocation
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins