Dried blood spot based biomarkers in the Health and Retirement Study: 2006 to 2016.

TitleDried blood spot based biomarkers in the Health and Retirement Study: 2006 to 2016.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2024
AuthorsKim, JK, Faul, J, Weir, DR, Crimmins, EM
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Biology
ISSN Number1520-6300
KeywordsBiomarkers, C-reactive protein, Cystatin C, Dried Blood Spot Testing, Retirement

INTRODUCTION: The Health and Retirement Study (HRS) has collected biomarker data over multiple waves. Such data can help improve our understanding of health changes in individuals and the causal pathways related to health. There are, however, technical challenges to using the HRS dried blood spots (DBS) biomarker data due to changes over time in assay protocols, platforms, and laboratories. We provide technical and summary information on biological indicators collected as part of the HRS from 2006 to 2016 that should be helpful to users of the data.

METHODS: We describe the opportunities and challenges provided by the HRS DBS data as well as insights provided by the data. The HRS collected DBS from its nationally representative sample of respondents 51 years of age or older from 2006 to 2016. DBS-based biomarkers were collected from half the sample in 2006, 2010, and 2014, and from the other half of the sample in 2008, 2012, and 2016. These DBS specimens were used to assay total and HDL cholesterol, glycosylated hemoglobin, C-reactive protein, and cystatin C from 2006 to 2016, and Interleukin 6 was added in 2014/2016. Samples included approximately 6000 individuals at each wave, and completion rates ranged from 81% to 90%. HRS transformed DBS values into venous blood equivalents to make them more comparable to those of the whole blood-based assays collected in most other studies and to facilitate longitudinal analysis.

RESULTS: Distribution of changes over time by age shows that total cholesterol levels decreased for each age, while HbA1c levels increased. Cystatin C shows a clear age gradient, but a number of other markers do not. Non-Hispanic Black persons and Hispanic respondents have a higher incidence of risk levels of each biomarker except for CRP among non-Hispanic Black older persons.

CONCLUSION: These public-use DBS data provide analysis opportunities that can be used to improve our understanding of health change with age in both populations and among individuals.

Citation Key13768
PubMed ID37803815
PubMed Central IDPMC10873048
Grant ListP30 AG017265 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
U01 AG009740 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States