Stability of oleander extract and oleandrin in sera stored in plastic serum separator tubes

Ann Clin Biochem 2007;44:485-487
© 2007 Association for Clinical Biochemistry


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Amitava Dasgupta and
Dollett White

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston, Houston, Texas;
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston, Houston, Texas

Introduction: Oleander poisoning is common in the southern partsof the United States as well as part of Europe and South EastAsia. The fluorescence polarization immunoassay (FPIA) for digoxincross-reacts with oleandrin, the major poison of oleander extractand can be used for rapid detection of oleander poisoning. However,for medicolegal investigation, the presence of oleandrin shouldbe confirmed by a more sophisticated analytical technique suchas liquid chromatography combined with tandem mass spectrometry.We studied stability of oleander extract as well as oleandrinin serum samples stored in Becton Dickinson plastic serum separatortubes (SSTs) by comparing values obtained in parallel specimensstored in plain glass tubes and in red-topped plastic tubes.

Method: Oleander leaves were extracted using absolute ethanol,and drug-free serum pools were supplemented with oleander extractor ethanolic solution of pure oleandrin. Aliquots of the supplementedpools were then stored in plain glass tubes, red-topped plastictubes or SSTs and the stability of oleander extract or oleandrinin sera were studied by the FPIA digoxin assay for varying timesup to seven days.

Results: We observed no statistically significant change inapparent digoxin concentrations in specimens stored in SSTseven after seven days of storage compared to original valuesobserved in the supplemented serum pools.

Conclusions: Specimens can be stored in SSTs for up to sevendays prior to analysis of oleandrin concentration.

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