Disturbance of the circadian rhythm has been associated with disease states, such as metabolic disorders, depression and cancer. Quantification of the circadian markers such as melatonin and cortisol critically depend on reliable and reproducible analytical methods. Previously, melatonin and cortisol were primarily analyzed separately, mainly using immunoassays.
Here we describe the validation and application of a high-throughput liquid chromatography in combination with mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method for the combined analysis of melatonin and cortisol in plasma and saliva. The LC-MS/MS method was validated according to international validation guidelines. We used this method to analyze total plasma, free plasma (as obtained by equilibrium dialysis) and saliva melatonin and cortisol in healthy adults.
Validation results for plasma and saliva melatonin and cortisol were well within the international validation criteria. We observed no difference between saliva collected by passive drooling or Salivette. Moreover, we noted a significant difference in saliva vs. free plasma melatonin. We observed on average 36% (95% CI: 4%–60%) higher salivary melatonin levels in comparison to free plasma melatonin, suggestive of local production of melatonin in the salivary glands.
The novel outcome of this study is probably due to the high precision of our LC-MS/MS assay. These outcomes illustrate the added value of accurate and sensitive mass spectrometry based methods for the quantification of neuroendocrine biomarkers.
Regulators of circadian rhythm, including melatonin, influence fundamental biological processes. Measuring the melatonin metabolite 6-sulfatoxymelatonin in urine can estimate melatonin production. 6-sulfatoxymelatonin is mainly analyzed by immunoassays, but these methods are hampered by cross-reactivity and poor reproducibility when used to analyze small molecules. Therefore, we validated a high-throughput liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS) method to quantify 6-sulfatoxymelatonin in urine. We evaluated age-dependent 24-h excretion of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin into urine and the biological variation of urinary excretion in healthy individuals.
The online solid phase extraction method combined with LC–MS/MS was validated according to international guidelines, and used to measure the excretion of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin into urine of 240 healthy individuals. Biological variation of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin excretion was examined in 10 healthy individuals.
Urinary 6-sulfatoxymelatonin results were well within the validation criteria (interassay coefficient of variation: <5.4%, quantification limit: 0.2 nmol/L). There was an age-related decrease in 6-sulfatoxymelatonin excretion into 24-h urine [F(5, 234)=13.9; p<0.001]. Within-subject variation of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin was 39.2% in day urine, 15.1% in night urine, and 12.2% in 24-h urine. Between-subject variation was 39.1% in day urine, 37.9% in night urine, and 36.8% in 24-h urine.
This MS-based method enables straightforward, reproducible, and sensitive quantification of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin in urine. Urinary 6-sulfatoxymelatonin levels decreased with age. Biological variation of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin excretion into urine was high between subjects and lower within subjects, indicating that repeated measurements of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin in 24-h urine are needed in future studies.
Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) is a biomarker with various applications in medicine and also in doping control.
A liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method was developed that employs 15N-IGF1 as an internal standard. The method features urea-based IGF1/IGFBP-complex dissociation which is directly followed by tryptic digestion. Following solid-phase extraction (SPE) sample clean-up of the digest, IGF1 is detected by means of two signature peptides that enable quantification of total IGF1 as well as discrimination between IGF1 proteoforms with ‘native’ and modified or extended N-terminal sequences.
Our method is capable of measuring plasma IGF1 concentrations over the clinically relevant range of 10–1000 ng/mL and was validated according to regulatory guidelines. Comparison with the IDS-iSYS IGF1 immunoassay revealed good correlation (R2>0.97) and no proportional bias between both assays was observed after normalizing the results against the WHO reference standard for IGF1 (02/254). Evaluation of several commercially available IGF1 preparations showed varying responses which were due to inconsistencies in purity and absolute amount of IGF1 present in these products.
Our LC-MS/MS method introduces urea-based dissociation of IGF1/IGFBP-complexes to enable reliable quantification of IGF1 in plasma. Furthermore, the method is able to detect clinically relevant IGF1 levels without an enrichment procedure at the protein-level and thereby minimizes the risk of losing IGF1 proteoforms during sample preparation.
To diagnose pheochromocytoma or sympathetic paraganglioma, guidelines recommend blood sampling after at least 30 min of supine rest and using an indwelling intravenous cannula is preferred. Although blood sampling by venipuncture is more convenient and cost-effective, it is unknown whether venipuncture affects plasma concentrations of free metanephrines (MNs). We therefore investigated whether there is a difference in plasma concentrations of free MNs collected by venipuncture or by an intravenous cannula.
We included 22 healthy participants (12 men and 10 women, median age 26 years). We collected blood using an indwelling cannula and venipuncture to determine plasma concentrations of free MNs and catecholamines, and calculated the median of the individually calculated absolute and relative differences.
Plasma concentrations of free MN, normetanephrine (NMN) and epinephrine were higher with blood sampling using venipuncture compared to that when using an indwelling cannula. The median (interquartile range [IQR]) difference was MN 0.020 (−0.004 to 0.040) nmol/L, median percentage difference 20.5% (−2.4 to 35.2%), NMN 0.019 (−0.004 to 0.077) nmol/L, median percentage difference 4.6% (−1.1 to 25.4%) and epinephrine 0.022 (0.007–0.079) nmol/L, median percentage difference 24.9% (7.8–83.3%). When the two sampling conditions were compared, plasma-free 3-methoxytyramine (3-MT), norepinephrine and dopamine concentrations did not differ.
Blood sampling by venipuncture resulted in statistically significant higher concentrations of MN, NMN and epinephrine compared to sampling by means of an indwelling cannula. However, differences were small. For most patients it seems justifiable to collect blood via venipuncture.
Background: The aim of this study was to compare different analytical methods that are currently in use in the Netherlands for the measurement of whole blood vitamin B6.
Methods: This method comparison study consisted of two separate parts. (1) Four laboratories participated in a pilot study in which the commercial Chromsystems and INstruchemie method, and a laboratory developed liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method and HPLC method were compared. Sixty-nine frozen whole blood samples and six lyophilized whole blood samples were used for comparison. (2) In the nationwide part of the study, 49 laboratories participated in the analysis of three identical sets of two whole blood samples of which one set was freshly analyzed, one set was analyzed after storage at −20 °C and one set was analyzed after lyophilization.
Results: In both parts of the study, the HPLC and LC-MS/MS methods showed equivalent results for all sample types tested. The Chromsystems method showed a positive bias of 45% (pilot study) and 30% (nationwide study) towards the LC-MS/MS method when fresh or frozen samples were used. The measurement of lyophilized samples showed no differences between the methods. The results of the INstruchemie method were inconclusive due to the low number of participants.
Conclusions: The different analytical methods for measuring vitamin B6 produce different results when whole blood patient samples are measured. The recognition of a reference method or the development of suitable reference materials and quality control materials might serve as a first step towards improved standardization or harmonization of the whole blood vitamin B6 assay.
Urinary steroid profiling (USP) is a powerful diagnostic tool to asses disorders of steroidogenesis. Pre-analytical factors such as age, sex and use of oral contraceptive pills (OCP) may affect steroid hormone synthesis and metabolism. In general, USP reference intervals are not adjusted for these variables. In this study we aimed to establish such reference intervals using a newly-developed and validated gas chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry detection method (GC-MS/MS).
Two hundred and forty healthy subjects aged 20–79 years, stratified into six consecutive decade groups each containing 20 males and 20 females, were included. None of the subjects used medications. In addition, 40 women aged 20–39 years using OCP were selected. A GC-MS/MS assay, using hydrolysis, solid phase extraction and double derivatization, was extensively validated and applied for determining USP reference intervals.
Androgen metabolite excretion declined with age in both men and women. Cortisol metabolite excretion remained constant during life in both sexes but increased in women 70–79 years of age. Progesterone metabolite excretion peaked in 30–39-year-old women and declined afterwards. Women using OCP had lower excretions of androgen metabolites, progesterone metabolites and cortisol metabolites. Method validation results met prerequisites and revealed the robustness of the GC-MS/MS method.
We developed a new GC-MS/MS method for USP which is applicable for high throughput analysis. Widely applicable age and sex specific reference intervals for 33 metabolites and their diagnostic ratios have been defined. In addition to age and gender, USP reference intervals should be adjusted for OCP use.
Background: Given the growing interest in the health benefits of vitamin K, there is great need for development of new high-throughput methods for quantitative determination of vitamin K in plasma. We describe a simple and rapid method for measurement of plasma vitamin K1 (phylloquinone [PK]) and K2 (menaquinones [MK]-4 and -7). Furthermore, we investigated the association of fasting plasma vitamin K with functional vitamin K insufficiency in renal transplant recipients (RTR).
Methods: We used HPLC-tandem mass spectrometry with atmospheric pressure chemical ionization for measurement of plasma PK, MK-4, and MK-7. Solid-phase extraction was used for sample clean-up. Mass spectrometric detection was performed in multiple reaction monitoring mode. Functional vitamin K insufficiency was defined as plasma desphospho-uncarboxylated matrix Gla protein (dp-ucMGP) >500 pmol/L.
Results: Lower limits of quantitation were 0.14 nmol/L for PK and MK-4 and 4.40 nmol/L for MK-7. Linearity up to 15 nmol/L was excellent. Mean recoveries were >92%. Fasting plasma PK concentration was associated with recent PK intake (ρ=0.41, p=0.002) and with plasma MK-4 (ρ=0.49, p<0.001). Plasma PK (ρ=0.38, p=0.003) and MK-4 (ρ=0.46, p<0.001) were strongly correlated with plasma triglyceride concentrations. Furthermore, we found that MK-4-triglyceride ratio, but not PK-triglyceride ratio, was significantly associated with functional vitamin K insufficiency (OR 0.22 [0.07–0.70], p=0.01) in RTR.
Conclusions: The developed rapid and easy-to-use LC-MS/MS method for quantitative determination of PK, MK-4, and MK-7 in human plasma may be a good alternative for the labor-intensive and time-consuming LC-MS/MS methods and enables a higher sample throughput.
Background: Plasma 3-methoxytyramine (3-MT), a metabolite of dopamine, is elevated in up to 28% of patients with head and neck paragangliomas (HNPGLs). As free dopamine is incorporated in circulating platelets, we determined dopamine concentration in platelets in patients with a HNPGL.
Methods: A single center cohort study was performed between 2012 and 2014. Thirty-six patients with a HNPGL were compared to healthy controls (68 for dopamine in platelets and 120 for plasma 3-MT).
Results: Dopamine concentration in platelets was elevated in HNPGL patients compared to healthy controls (median [interquartile ranges] 0.48 [0.32–0.82] pmol/109 platelets vs. 0.31 [0.24–0.47] pmol/109 platelets; p<0.05), whereas plasma 3-MT concentration did not differ between both groups (0.06 [0.06–0.08] nmol/L vs. 0.06 [0.06–0.06] nmol/L; p=0.119). Based on 68 healthy controls, the reference interval for dopamine concentration in platelets was 0.12–0.97 pmol/109 platelets. Six (16.7%) patients with a HNPGL demonstrated an increased dopamine concentration in platelets compared to three (8.3%) patients with an increased plasma 3-MT level (p=0.053). The sensitivity and specificity were 16.7% and 98.5% for platelet dopamine and 8.3% and 97.5% for plasma 3-MT concentration (p=0.37).
Conclusions: Dopamine concentration in platelets is elevated in patients with a HNPGL compared to healthy subjects, and may be a novel biomarker for dopamine producing paraganglioma.