Analytical bias in the measurement of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations impairs assessment of vitamin D status in clinical and research settings
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Measured serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations vary depending on the type of assay used and the specific laboratory undertaking the analysis, impairing the accurate assessment of vitamin D status. We investigated differences in serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations measured at three laboratories (laboratories A and B using an assay based on liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry and laboratory C using a DiaSorin Liaison assay), against a laboratory using an assay based on liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry that is certified to the standard reference method developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Ghent University (referred to as the ‘ certified laboratory ’ ). Separate aliquots from the same original serum sample for a subset of 50 participants from the Ausimmune Study were analysed at the four laboratories. Bland-Altman plots were used to visually check agreement between each laboratory against the certified laboratory. Compared with the certified laboratory, serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations were on average 12.4 nmol/L higher at laboratory A (95% limits of agreement: -17 .8,42.6); 12.8 nmol/L higher at laboratory B (95% limits of agreement: 0.8,24.8); and 10.6 nmol/L lower at laboratory C (95% limits of agreement: -48.4,27.1). The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency (defined here as 25-hydroxyvitamin D < 50 nmol/L) was 24%, 16%, 12% and 41% at the certified laboratory, and laboratories A, B, and C, respectively. Our results demonstrate considerable differences in the measurement of 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations compared with a certified laboratory, even between laboratories using assays based on liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, which is often considered the gold-standard assay. To ensure accurate and reliable measurement of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations, all laboratories should use an accuracy-based quality assurance system and, ideally, comply with international standardisation efforts
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