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Effect of the Hematocrit and its Correction on the Relationship Between Blood Tacrolimus Concentrations Obtained Using the Microparticle Enzyme Immunoassay (MEIA) and Enzyme Multiplied Immunoassay Technique (EMIT) by Lorena Bouzas, Francisco J. Ortega, Pedro Casado, M. Isabel Arranz, Antonio Carcas, J. Carlos Tutor

The Abbott microparticle enzyme immunoassay (MEIA) and the Dade Behring enzyme multiplied immunoassay technique (EMIT) are the most frequently used methods in the therapeutic drug monitoring of tacrolimus; however, a hematocrit-dependent interference for the MEIA has been described. In 244 whole blood samples from patients with liver (n=152) and kidney (n=92) transplants, the MEIA/EMIT ratio presented a highly significant negative correlation with the hematocrit (r=-0.482, p<0.001). On distributing the samples into three groups with a hematocrit of less than 30%, 30-40%, and higher than 40%, different regression equations were found between the results of MEIA and EMIT and demonstrate the different effect of the hematocrit on both immunoassays. Correcting the MEIA results by calculation for a hematocrit of less than 30% and higher than 40% (Hermida et al. Clin Lab 2005; 51: 43-45) led to a regression with EMIT that was similar to that found between MEIA and EMIT for the group of samples with a hematocrit of 30-40%. Furthermore, the corrected MEIA/EMIT ratio had a poor correlation with the hematocrit (r=0.149, p<0.05). In 95 samples with a hematocrit of less than 25% (n=73) and higher than 40% (n=22) we also determined the tacrolimus levels using the modified MEIA method to correct hematocrit interference, as proposed by Tomita et al. (Ther Drug Monit 2005; 27: 94-97). In the samples with a hematocrit of less than 25%, correcting the MEIA results by calculation produced results that were similar and had a high correlation coefficient (r=0.954, p<0.001) to those of the modified MEIA method, whose application as a routine practice is more expensive and laborious. Calculation of the corrected MEIA values in anemic patients may be useful for the therapeutic monitoring of tacrolimus.

DOI: Clin. Lab. 2007;53:591-596