Measurement of micronutrient deficiency associated biomarkers in dried blood spots using a multiplexed immunoarray

PLoS One. 2019 Jan 8;14(1):e0210212. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0210212. eCollection 2019.


Simplifying blood collection is often critical when collecting specimens in remote and/or austere settings. The use of dried blood spots (DBS) offers a practical collection method suitable for a wide variety of analytes. A small volume of whole blood can be obtained rapidly through a minimally invasive heel- or finger-stick using a disposable safety lancet. Once dried, the samples require no further processing, are stable for months or longer, pose minimal risk of disease transmission, and are easy to ship. DBS are often used in demographic health surveys to assess infectious disease status in vulnerable populations. These samples can be used to screen biomarkers of micronutrient deficiency (MND) and inflammation. We recently described a multiplexed immunoarray, the Q-plex human micronutrient array, which can simultaneously quantify seven biomarkers related to MND, inflammation and malarial antigenemia using plasma (alpha-1-acid glycoprotein, C-reactive protein, ferritin, histidine-rich protein 2, retinol binding protein, soluble transferrin receptor, and thyroglobulin). In this work, we present a protocol for preparing eluates from DBS samples and their measurement using a modified protocol for this new tool. We evaluated the concordance of analyte concentrations (excluding ferritin) from a panel ninety samples of DBS prepared from anticoagulated venous blood and paired K2-EDTA plasma. The results show high correlation between DBS eluates and wet plasma for five of the six analytes screened, suggesting the Q-plex human micronutrient array can be used with DBS samples, but also highlighting that anticoagulants can have a negative effects on some test components.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Specimen Collection / methods
  • Dried Blood Spot Testing / instrumentation
  • Dried Blood Spot Testing / methods*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / instrumentation
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Female
  • Health Surveys / methods*
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay / methods
  • Male
  • Malnutrition / blood
  • Malnutrition / diagnosis*
  • Micronutrients / deficiency*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Biomarkers
  • Micronutrients

Grant support

We note that one or more of the authors are employed by a commercial company: Quansys Biosciences. The commercial affiliation did play a role in your study, specifically CL provided details on assay methodology and also reviewed and edited the draft manuscript. This work was funded via a grant (OPP1154343) awarded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation ( awarded to DSB. The funder provided support in the form of salaries for authors [RB, LL, PB, DSB] and subcontracts for authors [EB, CL], but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The specific roles of these authors are articulated in the ‘author contributions’ section.