Quantitative Lipoprotein Subclass and Low Molecular Weight Metabolite Analysis in Human Serum and Plasma by 1 H NMR Spectroscopy in a Multilaboratory Trial

Anal Chem. 2018 Oct 16;90(20):11962-11971. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.8b02412. Epub 2018 Sep 27.


We report an extensive 600 MHz NMR trial of quantitative lipoprotein and small-molecule measurements in human blood serum and plasma. Five centers with eleven 600 MHz NMR spectrometers were used to analyze 98 samples including 20 quality controls (QCs), 37 commercially sourced, paired serum and plasma samples, and two National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) reference material 1951c replicates. Samples were analyzed using rigorous protocols for sample preparation and experimental acquisition. A commercial lipoprotein subclass analysis was used to quantify 105 lipoprotein subclasses and 24 low molecular weight metabolites from the NMR spectra. For all spectrometers, the instrument specific variance in measuring internal QCs was lower than the percentage described by the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) criteria for lipid testing [triglycerides <2.7%; cholesterol <2.8%; low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol <2.8%; high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol <2.3%], showing exceptional reproducibility for direct quantitation of lipoproteins in both matrixes. The average relative standard deviations (RSDs) for the 105 lipoprotein parameters in the 11 instruments were 4.6% and 3.9% for the two NIST samples, whereas they were 38% and 40% for the 37 commercially sourced plasmas and sera, respectively, showing negligible analytical compared to biological variation. The coefficient of variance (CV) obtained for the quantification of the small molecules across the 11 spectrometers was below 15% for 20 out of the 24 metabolites analyzed. This study provides further evidence of the suitability of NMR for high-throughput lipoprotein subcomponent analysis and small-molecule quantitation with the exceptional required reproducibility for clinical and other regulatory settings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Laboratories
  • Lipoproteins / blood*
  • Lipoproteins / metabolism
  • Molecular Weight
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular*
  • Protons
  • Quality Control


  • Lipoproteins
  • Protons