Effects of Freezing and Thawing Procedures on Selected Clinical Chemistry Parameters in Plasma.

Freiburghaus, Katrin; Leichtle, Alexander Benedikt; Nakas, Christos T.; Fiedler, Georg M.; Largiadèr, Carlo R. (2020). Effects of Freezing and Thawing Procedures on Selected Clinical Chemistry Parameters in Plasma. Biopreservation and biobanking, 18(4), pp. 297-304. Liebert 10.1089/bio.2020.0005

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Introduction: Measurements from frozen sample collections are important key indicators in clinical studies. It is a prime concern of biobanks and laboratories to minimize preanalytical bias and variance through standardization. In this study, we aimed at assessing the effects of different freezing and thawing conditions on the reproducibility of medical routine parameters from frozen samples. Materials and Methods: In total, 12 pooled samples were generated from leftover lithium heparinized plasma samples from clinical routine testing. Aliquots of the pools were frozen using three freezing methods (in carton box at -80°C, flash freezing in liquid nitrogen, and controlled-rate freezing [CRF]) and stored at -80°C. After 3 days, samples were thawed using two methods (30 minutes at room temperature or water bath at 25°C for 3 minutes). Ten clinical chemistry laboratory parameters were measured before (baseline) and after freeze-thaw treatment: total calcium, potassium, sodium, alanine aminotransferase, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), lipase, uric acid, albumin, c-reactive protein (CRP), and total protein. We evaluated the influence of the different preanalytical treatments on the test results and compared each condition with nonfrozen baseline measurements. Results: We found no significant differences between freezing methods for all tested parameters. Only LDH was significantly affected by thawing with fast-rate thawing being closer to baseline than slow-rate thawing. Potassium, LDH, lipase, uric acid, albumin, and CRP values were significantly changed after freezing and thawing compared with unfrozen samples. The least prominent changes compared with unfrozen baseline measurements were obtained when a CRF protocol of the local biobank and fast thawing was applied. However, the observed changes between baseline and frozen samples were smaller than the measurement uncertainty for 9 of the 10 parameters. Discussion: Changes introduced through freezing-thawing were small and not of clinical importance. A slight statistically based preference toward results from slow CRF and fast thawing of plasma being closest to unfrozen samples could be supported.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Haematology, Oncology, Infectious Diseases, Laboratory Medicine and Hospital Pharmacy (DOLS) > Institute of Clinical Chemistry

UniBE Contributor:

Freiburghaus, Katrin, Leichtle, Alexander Benedikt (B), Nakas, Christos T., Fiedler, Georg Martin, Largiadèr, Carlo Rodolfo


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Karin Balmer

Date Deposited:

17 Aug 2020 09:35

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 23:33

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

biobank clinical chemistry freezing thawing variability





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