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​Biospecimen Collection


The WHI holds a large repository of biological specimens that are available for ancillary study investigations. 

Biospecimen Handling

Blood (plasma, serum, RBC)

Blood samples were collected on all Clinical Trial (CT) participants at baseline and year 1 and on an approximate 6% subsample of participants at years 3, 6, and 9. Blood samples were collected on all Observational Study (OS) participants at baseline and Year 3. All blood samples were obtained in the fasting state (at least 12 hours). The same day as blood draw, part of all baseline blood samples and OS Year 3 blood samples was sent to clinical center labs for measurement of WBC, hematocrit, and platelet count. The remaining blood samples were maintained at 4°C for up to one hour until plasma or serum was separated from cells. Blood samples for carotenoid analysis were protected from natural and fluorescent white light with samples stored in covered containers or tubes. Centrifuged aliquots were put into -70 degree Celsius freezers within two hours of collection.

Buffy Coat

Buffy coats were collected for DNA extraction on all Clinical Trial participants at baseline and year 1 and on Observational Study Participants at baseline and year 3. Up to four daughter aliquots containing 1 µg DNA each were extracted with the remaining DNA being divided into parent aliquots containing up to 150 micrograms DNA each, depending on the total quantity of DNA extracted.


Urine samples were collected on both CT and OS participants at the three Bone Density Clinical Centers (Birmingham, Pittsburgh, Tucson), at baseline, year 1, year 3, percentage of year 6, and year 9.

Barcoded plasma, serum, red blood cells, buffy coat, and urine aliquots were frozen at -70°C and sent on dry ice to the central repository where storage at -70°C is maintained.

WHI 'Core' Analytes

The WBC, hematocrit, and platelet count were measured on all WHI participants at baseline and on OS participants at their Year 3 annual visit.

Twenty core blood analytes were measured prospectively in a 6% random subsample of CT participants at baseline, year 1, 3 and 6, and in a 1% random subsample of OS participants at baseline. Baseline data for the core blood analytes are available in the Data tab of this website.

The twenty core analytes are:

Coagulation Factors

  • Factor VII Ag (antigen)

  • Factor VII C (clotting activity)

  • Fibrinogen


  • High-density lipoprotein-2

  • High-density lipoprotein-3

  • High-density lipoprotein cholesterol

  • Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol

  • Apolipoprotein(a)

  • Total cholesterol

  • Triglyceride


  • Alpha-carotene

  • Alpha-tocopherol

  • Beta-carotene

  • Beta-cryptoxanthine

  • Gamma-tocopherol

  • Lycopene

  • Lutein and zeaxanthin

  • Retinol


  • Glucose

  • Insulin

Related Publications

Baseline blood analyses for the CT and OS have been published in the following documents.

Baseline monographs

See Also