Author(s): Kim HY, Wang TC, Ma YC
Abstract An improved technique for phospholipid molecular species analysis was developed using high-performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry with the electrospray interface. Using the 0.5\% ammonium hydroxide in a water-methanol-hexane mixture and a C-18 column, complex mixtures of phospholipid molecular species were separated and detected mainly as protonated or natriated molecular species. The response was linear over 2 orders of magnitude, allowing quantification of each molecular species. In comparison to the existing LC/MS techniques, marked improvement in sensitivity was observed. The present quantification limit is approximately 0.5 pmol before split (5 fmol after 1/100 split). The relative responses were more dependent on the head group identity rather than fatty acyl composition within a phospholipid class. In general, phosphatidylcholine (PC) species are most sensitively detected followed by phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) species. The sensitivity of phosphatidylserine (PS) in the positive ion mode is approximately 20 times less in comparison to PC under our condition.