Comparative Analysis of Hemagglutination Inhibition Titers Generated Using Temporally Matched Serum and Plasma Samples

Gabriel N. Defang, Nicholas J. Martin, Timothy H. Burgess, Eugene V. Millar, Le Nae A. Pecenka, Janine R. Danko, John C. Arnold, Tadeusz J. Kochel, Thomas C. Luke

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18 Scopus citations


Influenza-specific hemaggluitination inhibition (HAI) antibody titer, an indicator of immunity to influenza, is often used to measure exposure to influenza in surveillance and immunogenicity studies. Traditionally, serum has been the specimen of choice for HAI assays, but a desire to reduce the amount of blood collected during studies and the availability of plasma in archived sample collections warrant the evaluation of plasma for HAI titer. Therefore, the relationship between serum and plasma HAI titer values is of great interest. Here, we compare HAI titers determined on temporally matched serum and plasma (citrated and heparinized) using influenza A and B viruses. Bland-Altman plots, McNemar's test, and geometric coefficient of variation were used respectively for evaluating agreement, correlation and variability in the serum-plasma titer results. We observed a high degree of agreement (80.5%-98.8%) and correlation (r = 0.796-0.964) in the serum and matched plasma titer values although plasma titers were generally lower than corresponding serum titers. Calculated seropositive (HAI ≥40) rates were higher using serum titers than with plasma titers, but seroconversion rates were unaffected by sample type. Stronger agreement and decreased variability in titers were seen between serum and citrated plasma than between serum and heparinized plasma. Overall, these data suggest that serum or plasma can be used in serodiagnostic HAI assays, but seropositive rates may be underestimated using plasma HAI titers. The type of anticoagulant present in plasma may affect HAI titer values and warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere48229
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
StatePublished - 20 Dec 2012


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