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 specimens to be used in future studies. Serum specimens are currently available from NHANES III (1988-1994); and serum, urine, and a limited number of plasma specimens are available from continuous NHANES (1999-present). Specimens from participants aged 1-5 years are limited but may be available in some years from 1999-present. In total, there are over 1 million combined serum, plasma, and urine specimens available. For more information on recent availability of biospecimens by age and survey years, please see the tables below.

Proposal Guidelines

  • Results of studies using stored biospecimens 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 test is performed by a CLIA-certified laboratory deeming the findings valid,
    • 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  for more details on the proposal requirements and for evaluation criteria. For more information on the current availability of biospecimens or questions about the proposal requirements, please contact the NHANES Biospecimen Program.

Please use the proposal template [PDF – 118 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 2-6 months.

What happens after my proposal is approved?

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

Can specimens be used for public health emergencies?

Yes, please e-mail the NHANES Biospecimen Program early in your proposal process to see if the program fits your study’s needs.

How much does it cost to use stored biospecimens?

The current cost is $15.00 per vial. Updates to the cost structure are posted in the Federal Register Notice.

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. Projects are expected to show progress. Projects not showing progress for two years or more may be asked to provide a justification for delay or return or dispose of specimens, as directed by NHANES.

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 Men
Released: October, 2006

Inhibin B, Leuteinizing Hormone and Testosterone
Released: December, 2009

Antibody to MUMPs
Released: June, 2009

Dialkylphosphates
Released: May, 2009

Antibody to Hepatitis E Virus IgG
Released: August, 2008

Antibody to Periodontal Pathogens
Released: August, 2008

Cystatin C
Released: May, 2007

Antibody to Human Herpes Virus 8
Released: March, 2007

Antibody to Toxocara Larva Migrans
Released: January, 2007

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

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

Antibody to GAD65
Released: September, 2006

Optical Density to Cytomegalovirus
Released: May, 2006

Antibody to Cytomegalovirus IgG and IgM
Released: January, 2006

Pertussis Sera
Released: July, 2005

Cytomegalovirus genotypes
Released: June, 2017

Telomere Mean and Standard Deviation
Released: February, 2015

Varicella-Zoster Virus Antibody
Released: March, 2009

The NHANES Biospecimen Program processes and data access are being re-evaluated. For any queries related to a previously released dataset please email the Biospecimen Program at serumplasmaurine@cdc.gov.

The NHANES Biospecimen Program processes and data access are being re-evaluated. For any queries related to a previously released dataset please email the Biospecimen Program at serumplasmaurine@cdc.gov.

The NHANES Biospecimen Program processes and data access are being re-evaluated. For any queries related to a previously released dataset please email the Biospecimen Program at serumplasmaurine@cdc.gov.

The NHANES Biospecimen Program processes and data access are being re-evaluated. For any queries related to a previously released dataset please email the Biospecimen Program at serumplasmaurine@cdc.gov.

The NHANES Biospecimen Program processes and data access are being re-evaluated. For any queries related to a previously released dataset please email the Biospecimen Program at serumplasmaurine@cdc.gov.

The NHANES Biospecimen Program processes and data access are being re-evaluated. For any queries related to a previously released dataset please email the Biospecimen Program at serumplasmaurine@cdc.gov.

 

Publications Using Serum, Plasma, and Urine Specimens

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