Erythrocyte and serum folate concentrations: a multi-method study of folate status

Julie Croff, Tan Chibling, Ashleigh L. Chiaf, Micah Hartwell, Erica Crockett, T. Kent Teague

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Public health programs aimed at identifying and monitoring individuals at risk of specific nutrient
deficiencies may benefit from advances in biospecimen sampling techniques that allow for easier in-the-field collections.
Such advances may be particularly important for those of childbearing potential, in order to identify individuals at risk
of low folate status due to sub-optimal nutriture. Folate is a critical nutrient of interest among women of childbearing
potential because suboptimal levels are a primary contributor to neural tube defects. Whatman Paper Dried Blood Spots (WDBS) are a convenient method for assessing folate; however, a major drawback of WDBS has been the inability to separate serum from erythrocyte folate in these samples.

Aim of study: The purpose of this study was to test the feasibility of using newer linear flow chromatography DBS cards to measure serum and erythrocyte folate.
Method: A convenience sample (n=27) was recruited to assess folate values collected by venous blood draw, Whatman paper, and linear flow chromatography cards. These sampling techniques allowed for assessment of erythrocyte and serum folate values collected via different methods. Folate levels in the samples were assessed using standard Lactobacillus casei microbiological assays.

Results: Erythrocyte folate values from the two blood spot methodologies (Whatman paper and linear flow chromatography DBS) indicate a strong linear relationship, with 92% of variance accounted for in a linear regression
analysis. Similarly, venous blood samples and linear flow chromatography DBS values accounted for 88% of the variance.

Conclusion: Linear flow chromatography dried blood spot cards are useful for assessment of erythrocyte and serum folate. Values had a strong, positive, linear relationship to serum and erythrocyte folate values from other validated methodologies, including Whatman dried blood spots and venous whole blood samples.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalVitamins & Minerals
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2020


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