Development and validation of a simple LC-MS/MS method for the simultaneous quantitative determination of trimethylamine-N-oxide and branched chain amino acids in human serum
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Serum branched chain amino acids and trimethylamine-N-oxide are monitored as potential indicators of diabetes and cardiovascular health respectively. A rapid method for their simultaneous determination using liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry is described here. Branched chain amino acids and trimethylamine-N-oxide were quantified based on their specific MS/MS fragments using a selected reaction monitoring approach. A number of columns were tested for their ability to separate the analytes. A C18-PFP column separated the analytes in just 4 minutes, and resulted in excellent peak shape and retention time repeatability, and was therefore chosen as the optimal column. A second column, the Intrada Amino Acid column, was chosen for comparison and validation experiments as it provided an orthogonal separation mechanism. The intra-day and inter-day precision and accuracy were less than 12% for trimethylamine-N-oxide and less than 6% for the branched chain amino acids. Recoveries, where serum was spiked with three different concentrations of the analytes, ranged from 97 to 113%. The LODs and LOQs for trimethylamine-N-oxide were 1 and 6 ng/mL, for leucine and isoleucine were 4 and 8 ng/mL, and for valine were 5 and 15 ng/mL, respectively. The C18-PFP column method was validated using the Intrada Amino Acid column method and percentage agreement for all four analytes was within 10%. Sample preparation was minimal, and use of labelled internal standards accounted for matrix effects. The method was successfully applied to human plasma samples.
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