A candidate liquid chromatography mass spectrometry reference method for the quantification of the cardiac marker 1-32 B-type natriuretic peptide

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Background:B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) is a 32 amino acid cardiac hormone routinely measured by immunoassays to diagnose heart failure. While it is reported that immunoassay results can vary up to 45%, no attempt of standardization and/or harmonization through the development of certified reference materials (CRMs) or reference measurement procedures (RMPs) has yet been carried out.Methods:B-type natriuretic peptide primary calibrator was quantified traceably to the International System of Units (SI) by both amino acid analysis and tryptic digestion. A method for the stabilization of BNP in plasma followed by protein precipitation, solid phase extraction (SPE) and liquid chromatography (LC) mass spectrometry (MS) was then developed and validated for the quantification of BNP at clinically relevant concentrations (15-150 fmol/g).Results:The candidate reference method was applied to the quantification of BNP in a number of samples from the UK NEQAS Cardiac Markers Scheme to demonstrate its applicability to generate reference values and to preliminary evaluate the commutability of a potential CRM. The results from the reference method were consistently lower than the immunoassay results and discrepancy between the immunoassays was observed confirming previous data.Conclusions:The application of the liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) method to the UK NEQAS samples and the correlation of the results with the immunoassay results shows the potential of the method to support external quality assessment schemes, to improve understanding of the bias of the assays and to establish RMPs for BNP measurements. Furthermore, the method has the potential to be multiplexed for monitoring circulating truncated forms of BNP.

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