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Advanced microsamples: Current applications and considerations for mass spectrometry-based metabolic phenotyping pipelines

Roberts, J.L., Whiley, L.ORCID: 0000-0002-9088-4799, Gray, N., Gay, M. and Lawler, N.G. (2022) Advanced microsamples: Current applications and considerations for mass spectrometry-based metabolic phenotyping pipelines. Separations, 9 (7). Article 175.

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Microsamples are collections usually less than 50 µL, although all devices that we have captured as part of this review do not fit within this definition (as some can perform collections of up to 600 µL); however, they are considered microsamples that can be self-administered. These microsamples have been introduced in pre-clinical, clinical, and research settings to overcome obstacles in sampling via traditional venepuncture. However, venepuncture remains the sampling gold standard for the metabolic phenotyping of blood. This presents several challenges in metabolic phenotyping workflows: accessibility for individuals in rural and remote areas (due to the need for trained personnel), the unamenable nature to frequent sampling protocols in longitudinal research (for its invasive nature), and sample collection difficulty in the young and elderly. Furthermore, venous sample stability may be compromised when the temperate conditions necessary for cold-chain transport are beyond control. Alternatively, research utilising microsamples extends phenotyping possibilities to inborn errors of metabolism, therapeutic drug monitoring, nutrition, as well as sport and anti-doping. Although the application of microsamples in metabolic phenotyping exists, it is still in its infancy, with whole blood being overwhelmingly the primary biofluid collected through the collection method of dried blood spots. Research into the metabolic phenotyping of microsamples is limited; however, with advances in commercially available microsampling devices, common barriers such as volumetric inaccuracies and the ‘haematocrit effect’ in dried blood spot microsampling can be overcome. In this review, we provide an overview of the common uses and workflows for microsampling in metabolic phenotyping research. We discuss the advancements in technologies, highlighting key considerations and remaining knowledge gaps for the employment of microsamples in metabolic phenotyping research. This review supports the translation of research from the ‘bench to the community’.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Australian National Phenome Centre
Centre for Computational and Systems Medicine
Publisher: MDPI
Copyright: © 2022 by the authors
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