Multimodal analysis for human ex vivo studies shows extensive molecular changes from delays in blood processing

iScience. 2021 Apr 15;24(5):102404. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2021.102404. eCollection 2021 May 21.


Multi-omic profiling of human peripheral blood is increasingly utilized to identify biomarkers and pathophysiologic mechanisms of disease. The importance of these platforms in clinical and translational studies led us to investigate the impact of delayed blood processing on the numbers and state of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and on the plasma proteome. Similar to previous studies, we show minimal effects of delayed processing on the numbers and general phenotype of PBMC up to 18 hours. In contrast, profound changes in the single-cell transcriptome and composition of the plasma proteome become evident as early as 6 hours after blood draw. These reflect patterns of cellular activation across diverse cell types that lead to progressive distancing of the gene expression state and plasma proteome from native in vivo biology. Differences accumulating during an overnight rest (18 hours) could confound relevant biologic variance related to many underlying disease states.

Keywords: Immunology; Molecular Physiology; Proteomics; Transcriptomics.