Comparative analysis of obesity-related cardiometabolic and renal biomarkers in human plasma and serum

Sci Rep. 2019 Oct 28;9(1):15385. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-51673-0.


The search for biomarkers associated with obesity-related diseases is ongoing, but it is not clear whether plasma and serum can be used interchangeably in this process. Here we used high-throughput screening to analyze 358 proteins and 76 lipids, selected because of their relevance to obesity-associated diseases, in plasma and serum from age- and sex-matched lean and obese humans. Most of the proteins/lipids had similar concentrations in plasma and serum, but a subset showed significant differences. Notably, a key marker of cardiovascular disease PAI-1 showed a difference in concentration between the obese and lean groups only in plasma. Furthermore, some biomarkers showed poor correlations between plasma and serum, including PCSK9, an important regulator of cholesterol homeostasis. Collectively, our results show that the choice of biofluid may impact study outcome when screening for obesity-related biomarkers and we identify several markers where this will be the case.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / blood*
  • Kidney Diseases / complications
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / blood*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / blood*
  • Obesity / complications
  • Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1 / blood*
  • Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1 / standards
  • Proprotein Convertase 9 / blood*
  • Proprotein Convertase 9 / standards


  • Biomarkers
  • Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1
  • PCSK9 protein, human
  • Proprotein Convertase 9