Blood collection tubes influence serum ficolin-1 and ficolin-2 levels

Academic Article


  • The ficolins are members of a recently discovered family of host innate opsonins that can activate the lectin pathway of complement. The ficolins bind many ligands, although they are typically described as binding acetylated sugars. Ficolin-1 (M-ficolin) and ficolin-2 (L-ficolin) are known to bind Streptococcus pneumoniae serotypes 19C and 11A, respectively. While studying the binding of ficolins to pneumococci, we found variations in ficolin-2 binding among serum samples collected in different types of blood collection tubes. Plastic tubes, which contain a silica clot activator, yielded sera with reduced ficolin-2 binding and apparent ficolin-2 levels. We found that the silica clot activator eluted from plastic red-top tubes inhibited ficolin-2 ligand binding, while other related proteins, like mannose-binding lectin (MBL) and ficolin-1, were not affected. These tube types did not affect the concentrations of other related opsonins (C1q, MBL, or ficolin-3 [H-ficolin]). Interestingly, we also found that ficolin-1 levels were increased 2- to 3-fold in plastic serum separator tubes compared to the increases in other tube types. These findings have implications for future ficolin-1 and ficolin-2 studies, as proper sample collection and handling are essential. Copyright © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Brady AM; Spencer BL; Falsey AR; Nahm MH
  • Start Page

  • 51
  • End Page

  • 55
  • Volume

  • 21
  • Issue

  • 1