BACKGROUND: Direct methods for the assessment of intra-erythrocyte magnesium (dIEM) require extensive sample preparation, making them labor intensive. An alternative, less labor intensive method is indirect calculation of intra-erythrocyte magnesium (iIEM). We compared dIEM and iIEM and studied determinants of dIEM and iIEM, plasma magnesium and 24-h urinary magnesium excretion in a large population-based cohort study.
METHODS: dIEM and iIEM were measured using a validated inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) method in 1669 individuals from the second screening from the LifeLines Cohort Study. We used linear regression analyses to study the determinants of IEM, plasma magnesium and 24-h urinary magnesium excretion.
RESULTS: Mean dIEM and iIEM were 0.20 ± 0.04 mmol/1012 cells and 0.25 ± 0.04 mmol/1012 cells, respectively. We found a strong correlation between dIEM and iIEM (r = 0.75). Passing-Bablok regression analyses showed an intercept of 0.015 (95% CI: 0.005; 0.023) and a slope of 1.157 (95% CI: 1.109; 1.210). In linear regression analyses, plasma levels of total- and LDL -cholesterol, and triglycerides were positively associated dIEM, iIEM, and plasma magnesium, while glucose and HbA1c were inversely associated with plasma magnesium.
CONCLUSIONS: We observed a strong correlation between dIEM and iIEM, suggesting that iIEM is a reliable alternative for the labor intensive dIEM method.