Author(s): Infante HG, Van Campenhout K, Blust R, Adams FC
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Abstract The capability of post-column isotope dilution (ID) combined with anion-exchange HPLC-ICP-time-of-flight (TOF)-MS was for the first time investigated for environmental quality assessment through metal speciation analysis of metallothionein (MT) isoforms in cytosols of gibel carp (Carassius auratus gibelio), used as biomarkers for environmental metal exposure. A full spectral scanning of the biological sample (with 50 microl injection volume) using ICP-TOF-MS in transient mode allowed fast multi-isotope screening of cytosolic metal-containing fractions and to investigate the presence of matrix-induced interferences. The MT cytosolic fraction of liver and kidney of the carp, sampled at three different sampling sites in Belgium, was partially purified using size-exclusion (SE) HPLC. Quantification of the elements Cd (toxic) and Zn and Cu (essential) associated with MT isoforms in this fraction was addressed using an hybrid approach based on post-column addition of the enriched isotopes 65Cu, 67Zn, 106Cd and monitoring on-line the isotope ratios 63Cu/65Cu, 64Zn/67Zn and 114Cd/106Cd by ICP-MS with a time of flight instrument, which was coupled to anion-exchange HPLC. With this separation method, baseline separation of up to five MT isoforms, which is required for quantitative metal speciation by HPLC-ICP-IDMS, was achieved within a run of 15 min. The MT fraction of the cytosols was also analysed for the total metal content using IDMS with size-exclusion HPLC-ICP-MS and species-unspecific calibration. Results showed significant differences between speciation results and total MT concentrations of control fish and fish from the most contaminated sampling sites, revealing the potential of gibel carp MT for sequestering excess intracellular free-ions (essential and toxic elements) and for its protection against metal toxicity. Preferences for metal sequestration of metal complexes with MT isoforms were also found to be tissue-specific: excess of Cd was found preferably bound to a major MT isoform (tR = 8.0 min) in kidney, whereas excess intracellular Zn appeared to be mostly sequestered by four MT isoforms (tR=7.3, 8.0, 12.2 and 14.4 min) in liver, the MT form with tR = 8.0 min being the main Zn scavenger form. Such kind of quantitative speciation information on the preferences of MT isoforms in different fish organs for sequestering heavy metals, reported here for the first time, is important to elucidate the role of isoform-specific induction of vertebrate fish MT in metal detoxification and the use of MT as biomarker.
This article was published in J Chromatogr A
and referenced in Journal of Analytical & Bioanalytical Techniques