Author(s): Takach E, OShea T, Liu H
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Abstract Quantifying amino acids in biological matrices is typically performed using liquid chromatography (LC) coupled with fluorescent detection (FLD), requiring both derivatization and complete baseline separation of all amino acids. Due to its high specificity and sensitivity, the use of UPLC-MS/MS eliminates the derivatization step and allows for overlapping amino acid retention times thereby shortening the analysis time. Furthermore, combining UPLC-MS/MS with stable isotope labeling (e.g., isobaric tag for relative and absolute quantitation, i.e., iTRAQ) of amino acids enables quantitation while maintaining sensitivity, selectivity and speed of analysis. In this study, we report combining UPLC-MS/MS analysis with iTRAQ labeling of amino acids resulting in the elution and quantitation of 44 amino acids within 5 min demonstrating the speed and convenience of this assay over established approaches. This chromatographic analysis time represented a 5-fold improvement over the conventional HPLC-MS/MS method developed in our laboratory. In addition, the UPLC-MS/MS method demonstrated improvements in both specificity and sensitivity without loss of precision. In comparing UPLC-MS/MS and HPLC-MS/MS results of 32 detected amino acids, only 2 amino acids exhibited imprecision (RSD) >15\% using UPLC-MS/MS, while 9 amino acids exhibited RSD >15\% using HPLC-MS/MS. Evaluating intra- and inter-assay precision over 3 days, the quantitation range for 32 detected amino acids in rat plasma was 0.90-497 μM, with overall mean intra-day precision of less than 15\% and mean inter-day precision of 12\%. This UPLC-MS/MS assay was successfully implemented for the quantitative analysis of amino acids in rat and mouse plasma, along with mouse urine and tissue samples, resulting in the following concentration ranges: 0.98-431 μM in mouse plasma for 32 detected amino acids; 0.62-443 μM in rat plasma for 32 detected amino acids; 0.44-8590μM in mouse liver for 33 detected amino acids; 0.61-1241 μM in mouse kidney for 37 detected amino acids; and 1.39-1,681 μM in rat urine for 34 detected amino acids. The utility of the assay was further demonstrated by measuring and comparing plasma amino acid levels between pre-diabetic Zucker diabetic fatty rats (ZDF/Gmi fa/fa) and their lean littermates (ZDF/Gmi fa/?). Significant differences (P<0.001) in 9 amino acid concentrations were observed, with the majority ranging from a 2- to 5-fold increase in pre-diabetic ZDF rats on comparison with ZDF lean rats, consistent with previous literature reports. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
This article was published in J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci
and referenced in Journal of Chromatography & Separation Techniques