The effect of haemolysis on the metabolomic profile of umbilical cord blood

Clin Biochem. 2015 May;48(7-8):534-7. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2015.02.004. Epub 2015 Feb 16.


Objectives: Metabolomics is defined as the comprehensive study of all low molecular weight biochemicals, (metabolites) present in an organism. Using a systems biology approach, metabolomics in umbilical cord blood (UCB) may offer insight into many perinatal disease processes by uniquely detecting rapid biochemical pathway alterations. In vitro haemolysis is a common technical problem affecting UCB sampling in the delivery room, and can hamper metabolomic analysis. The extent of metabolomic alteration which occurs in haemolysed samples is unknown.

Design and methods: Visual haemolysis was designated by the laboratory technician using a standardised haemolysis index colour chart. The metabolomic profile of haemolysed and non-haemolysed UCB serum samples from 69 healthy term infants was compared using both (1)H-NMR and targeted DI and LC-MS/MS approach.

Results: We identified 43 metabolites that are significantly altered in visually haemolysed UCB samples, acylcarnitines (n=2), glycerophospholipids (n=23), sphingolipids (n=7), sugars (n=3), amino acids (n=4) and Krebs cycle intermediates (n=4).

Conclusion: This information will be useful for researchers in the field of neonatal metabolomics to avoid false findings in the presence of haemolysis, to ensure reproducible and credible results.

Keywords: Biobanking; Haemolysis; Hemolysis; Metabolomics; Umbilical cord blood.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / chemistry*
  • Fetal Blood / metabolism*
  • Hemolysis*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Male
  • Metabolomics
  • Pregnancy
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry