National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Serum, Plasma, and Urine Specimens

Serum, Plasma, and Urine Specimen Repository

Serum, plasma, and urine specimens are obtained from NHANES study participants aged six years and older who have given consent for their samples to be used in future studies. Serum samples are currently available from NHANES III (1988-1994); and serum, urine, and a limited number of plasma samples are available from continuous NHANES (1999-present). Smaller quantities of serum samples from participants aged 3-5 years are available and serum samples for participants aged 1-2 years are available only from NHANES 1999-2010. In total, we have over 1 million combined serum, plasma, and urine specimens available. Please see the tables below for more information:


Proposal Guidelines

  • Results of studies using stored samples are not reported back to the participant. Therefore, all proposals seeking the use of NHANES serum, plasma, or urine for must not produce laboratory results that are clinically significant to the NHANES participant. Clinical significance is defined as:
    • The findings are valid and performed by a CLIA-certified laboratory,
    • The findings may have significant implications for the subjects’ health concerns, and
    • A course of action is readily available to ameliorate or treat the concerns.
  • All proposals will be evaluated by the NHANES Project Officer and a technical panel for scientific merit and lack of clinical significance to the NHANES participant. The proposal is then reviewed by the NCHS Human Subjects Contact, Confidentiality Officer, and Ethics Review Board (ERB) for any potential human subjects or confidentiality concerns.

Please see the Federal Registerexternal icon to submit a proposal and for evaluation criteria.

Please use the proposal template pdf icon[PDF – 139 KB] to write your proposal.

Submit all proposals via email to NHANES Biospecimen Program


Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the evaluation process?

The entire review process can range from 2-4 months.

What happens after my proposal is approved?

The NHANES Project Officer will contact you to arrange the transfer of samples after a Inter-Agency Agreement or a Materials Transfer Agreement-Memorandum of Understanding (MTA-MOU) has been signed. An interagency agreement will be developed to transfer funds for federal agencies, or an invoice will be sent for the cost of the samples for non-federal institutions.

What kind of studies can I do with the NHANES biospecimens?

NHANES is a nationally representative survey and biospecimens are best utilized to determine the prevalence of laboratory analytes of public health concern using the survey sample weights. Case-control studies are discouraged.

How much does it cost to use stored biospecimens?

The current cost is $13.00 per vial.

Is there a time limit on how long I can use the serum, plasma, and urine specimens?

You must submit a progress report annually and if work continues beyond five years a new protocol may need to be submitted.


Data Documentation Files using Serum, Plasma, and Urine Specimens

Autoantibodies – Immunofluorescence Analyses
Released: August, 2019

IgG Antibody to Hepatitis E Virus and anti-HEV Western Blot
Released: September, 2016

Food Specific IgE(s) Sera
Released: May, 2015

Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS)
Released: August, 2012

IgG and IgM Antibody to Hepatitis E Virus
Released: May, 2013

Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance
Released: January, 2015

Partial Hepatitis C Virus RNA Sequences Isolated from Individuals
Released: August, 2012

ß-trace Protein ß2 Microglobulin
Released: April, 2012

Cystatin C, ß-trace Protein ß2 Microglobulin
Released: April, 2012

Racial/Ethnic Variation in Sex Steroid Hormone Concentrations Across Age in US Menpdf icon
Released: October, 2006

Inhibin B, Leuteinizing Hormone and Testosteronepdf icon
Released: December, 2009

Antibody to MUMPspdf icon
Released: June, 2009

Dialkylphosphatespdf icon
Released: May, 2009

Antibody to Hepatitis E Virus IgGpdf icon
Released: August, 2008

Antibody to Periodontal Pathogenspdf icon
Released: August, 2008

Cystatin Cpdf icon
Released: May, 2007

Antibody to Human Herpes Virus 8pdf icon
Released: March, 2007

Antibody to Toxocara Larva Migranspdf icon
Released: January, 2007

Insulin Like Growth Factor (IGF-I and IGF Binding Protein-3pdf icon
Released: October, 2006

Racial/Ethnic Variation in Sex Steroid Hormone Concentrations Across Age in US Menpdf icon
Released: October, 2006

Antibody to GAD65pdf icon
Released: September, 2006

Optical Density to Cytomegaloviruspdf icon
Released: May, 2006

Antibody to Cytomegalovirus IgG and IgM
Released: January, 2006

Pertussis Serapdf icon
Released: July, 2005

Autoantibodies – Immunofluorescence Analyses
Released: August, 2019

Norovirus Antibody
Released: July, 2017

Cytomegalovirus genotypes
Released: June, 2017

Cytomegalovirus shedding
Released: January, 2016

Urinary cytomegalovirus shedding
Released: January, 2016

Telomere Mean and Standard Deviation
Released: February, 2015

Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) & Inhibin-B
Released: January, 2015

Sex Steroid Hormone – Men
Released: March, 2013

Perfluoroaokyl Chemicals – Serum
Released: September, 2012

Aflatoxin B1-lysine – Serum
Released: August, 2012

Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS)
Released: August, 2012

Autoantibodies – Immunofluorescence & Immunoprecipitation Analyses
Released: February, 2012

Folic Acid – Unmetabolized
Released: July, 2010

Mumps Antibody – Serum
Released: June, 2009

Varicella-Zoster Virus Antibody
Released: March, 2009

Transferrin Receptor – Pregnant Women
Released: August, 2008

Cystatin C
Released: June, 2008

Cytomegalovirus IgG Antibodies – Serum
Released: March, 2008

Herpes Simplex Virus Type-1
Released: October, 2006

Volatile Organic Compounds & Metabolites
Temporarily withdrawn to correct a calibration bias for one variable: URXPMM

Salmonella & Campylobacter Antibodies
Released: January, 2015

Epstein-Barr Virus (VCA IgG) – Serum
Released: June, 2012

Autoantibodies – Immunofluorescence Analyses
Released: August, 2019

Flame Retardants – Urine
Released: August, 2019

Antibody to Toxocara spp
Released: January, 2017

Toxoplasma Gondii Antibody – Serum
Released: January, 2016

Hepatitis C Antibody Reflex Testing – Serum
Released: February, 2015



Publications Using Serum, Plasma, and Urine Specimens

A list of publications using data resulting from collected Sera, Plasma, and Urine specimens.

Page last reviewed: August 23, 2021