Protocol 1: Validation of Blood Draw: The subject had a venous catheter inserted prior to the start of this investigation. Two 5 ml blood samples were drawn for control samples; these samples were centrifuged and stored frozen. After the control samples were drawn, a blood collection card device was attached to the catheter and allowed to fill (approx. 5 ml each). There was a total of five cards which require approximately one minute each to fill. After filling, the cards were dried for approximately two hours in a box which was connected to a modified cabin air flow source.
Protocol 2: Validation of Prepared Samples: This protocol does not require blood collection; instead, prepared serum samples were used to fill the cards. Thirty-two syringes of frozen, prepared serum was flown, two of which will served as control samples. None of the syringes required centrifugation. After the serum was thawed, each syringe was injected into a blood collection card device. The cards were dried for approximately two hours in a box which was connected to a modified cabin air flow source. This protocol was performed in two sessions, filling 15 cards for each session.
The quality of blood serum in terms of red cell lysis was superior to that collected by current standard in-flight methods (gel separation in VacutainersTM). In general, 80% of the commonly studied analytes were preserved for several months without freezing. Electrolytes, amino acid and steroid hormones, and polypeptides and protein hormones were well preserved. The majority of serum enzymes were preserved at their serum level, but four enzymes measured through their activity were preserved at 30-50% of their original concentrations. Metabolites such as glucose and uric acid seemed to deteriorate slowly. The method is promising for use on spacecraft and for real-time diagnosis on Earth.
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