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Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM)

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Volume 52, Issue 1 (Jan 2014)


Quantification of glyoxal, methylglyoxal and 3-deoxyglucosone in blood and plasma by ultra performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry: evaluation of blood specimen

Jean L.J.M. Scheijen
  • Corresponding author
  • Laboratory for Metabolism and Vascular Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  • Email:
/ Casper G. Schalkwijk
  • Laboratory for Metabolism and Vascular Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  • Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands
Published Online: 2013-03-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cclm-2012-0878


Background: The reactive α-oxoaldehydes glyoxal (GO), methylglyoxal (MGO) and 3-deoxyglucosone (3-DG) have been linked to diabetic complications and other age-related diseases. Numerous techniques have been described for the quantification of α-oxoaldehydes in blood or plasma, although with several shortcomings such as the need of large sample volume, elaborate extraction steps or long run-times during analysis. Therefore, we developed and evaluated an improved method including sample preparation, for the quantification of these α-oxoaldehydes in blood and plasma with ultra performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC MS/MS).

Methods: EDTA plasma and whole blood samples were deproteinized using perchloric acid (PCA) and subsequently derivatized with o-phenylenediamine (oPD). GO, MGO and 3-DG concentrations were determined using stable isotope dilution UPLC MS/MS with a run-to-run time of 8 min. Stability of α-oxoaldehyde concentrations in plasma and whole blood during storage was tested. The concentration of GO, MGO and 3-DG was measured in EDTA plasma of non-diabetic controls and patients with type 2 diabetes (T2DM).

Results: Calibration curves of GO, MGO and 3-DG were linear throughout selected ranges. Recoveries of these α-oxoaldehydes were between 95% and 104%. Intra- and inter-assay CVs were between 2% and 14%.

Conclusions: To obtain stable and reliable α-oxoaldehyde concentrations, immediate centrifugation of blood after blood sampling is essential and the use of EDTA as anticoagulant is preferable. Moreover, immediate precipitation of plasma protein with PCA stabilized α-oxoaldehyde concentrations for at least 120 min. With the use of the developed method, we found increased plasma concentrations of GO, MGO and 3-DG in T2DM as compared with non-diabetic controls.

Keywords: 3-deoxyglucosone; glyoxal; liquid chromatography; methylglyoxal; tandem mass spectrometry; type 2 diabetes


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About the article

Corresponding author: Jean L. J. M. Scheijen, BSc, Laboratory for Metabolism and Vascular Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Maastricht, P Debeyelaan 25, P.O. Box 5800, 6202 AZ Maastricht, The Netherlands, Phone: +31-43-3882136, Fax: +31-43-3875006, E-mail:

Received: 2012-12-13

Accepted: 2013-02-04

Published Online: 2013-03-13

Published in Print: 2014-01-01

Citation Information: Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, ISSN (Online) 1437-4331, ISSN (Print) 1434-6621, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cclm-2012-0878. Export Citation

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