Development of a pregnancy-specific reference material for thyroid biomarkers, vitamin D, and nutritional trace elements in serum

Ashley S.P. Boggs, Lisa E. Kilpatrick, Carolyn Q. Burdette, Denise S. Tevis, Zachary A. Fultz, Michael A. Nelson, Jeffery M. Jarrett, Jennifer V. Kemp, Ravinder J. Singh, Stefan K.G. Grebe, Stephen A. Wise, Brittany L. Kassim, Stephen E. Long

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Matrix differences among serum samples from non-pregnant and pregnant patients could bias measurements. Standard Reference Material 1949, Frozen Human Prenatal Serum, was developed to provide a quality assurance material for the measurement of hormones and nutritional elements throughout pregnancy. Serum from non-pregnant women and women in each trimester were bottled into four levels based on pregnancy status and trimester. Liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) methods were developed and applied to the measurement of thyroid hormones, vitamin D metabolites, and vitamin D-binding protein (VDBP). Copper, selenium, and zinc measurements were conducted by inductively coupled plasma dynamic reaction cell MS. Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), thyroglobulin (Tg), and thyroglobulin antibody concentrations were analyzed using immunoassays and LC-MS/MS (Tg only). Certified values for thyroxine and triiodothyronine, reference values for vitamin D metabolites, VDBP, selenium, copper, and zinc, and information values for reverse triiodothyronine, TSH, Tg, and Tg antibodies were assigned. Significant differences in serum concentrations were evident for all analytes across the four levels (p≤0.003). TSH measurements were significantly different (p<0.0001) among research-only immunoassays. Tg concentrations were elevated in research-only immunoassays vs. Federal Drug Administration-approved automated immunoassay and LC-MS/MS. Presence of Tg antibodies increased differences between automated immunoassay and LC-MS/MS. The analyte concentrations' changes consistent with the literature and the demonstration of matrix interferences in immunoassay Tg measurements indicate the functionality of this material by providing a relevant matrix-matched reference material for the different stages of pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)671-679
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021


  • mass spectrometry
  • pregnancy
  • standard reference material
  • thyroid
  • trace elements
  • vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


Dive into the research topics of 'Development of a pregnancy-specific reference material for thyroid biomarkers, vitamin D, and nutritional trace elements in serum'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this