Quantitative high-throughput determination of endogenous retinoids in human plasma using triple-stage liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry.Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2007; 21(7):1176-86.RC
A high-throughput ultrasensitive analytical method based on liquid chromatography with positive ion atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) coupled to tandem mass spectrometric detection (LC/MS/MS) was developed for the determination of all-trans-4-oxo-retinoic acid (at4oxoRA), 13-cis-4-oxo-retinoic acid (13c4oxoRA), 13-cis-retinoic acid (13cRA), all-trans-retinoic acid (atRA) and all-trans-retinol (atROH) in human plasma. A stable isotope of atRA was used as internal standard (IS). The analytes and IS were isolated from 100 microL plasma by acetonitrile mono-phase extraction (MPE) performed in black 96-well microtiterplates. A 100 microL injection was focused on-column and chromatographed on an Agilent ZORBAX SB-C18 rapid-resolution high-throughput (RRHT) column with 1.8-microm particles (4.6 mmx50 mm) maintained at 60 degrees C. The initial mobile phase composition was acetonitrile/water/formic acid (10:90:0.1, v/v/v) delivered at 1.8 mL/min. Elution was accomplished by a fast gradient to acetonitrile/methanol/formic acid (90:10:0.1, v/v/v). The method had a chromatographic total run time of 7 min. An Applied Biosystems 4000 Q TRAP linear tandem mass spectrometer equipped with a heated nebulizer (APCI) ionization source was operated in multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) mode with the precursor-to-product ion transitions m/z 315.4-->297 (4-oxo-retinoic acids), 301.2-->205 (retinoic acids), 305.0-->209 (IS) and 269.2-->93 (retinol) used for quantification. The assay was fully validated and found to have acceptable accuracy, precision, linearity, sensitivity and selectivity. The mean extraction recoveries from spiked plasma samples were 80-105% for the various retinoids at three different levels. The intra-day accuracy of the assay was within 8% of nominal and intra-day precision was better than 8% coefficient of variance (CV) for retinoic acids. Inter-day precision results for quality control samples run over a 12-day period alongside clinical samples showed mean precision better than 12.5% CV. The limit of quantification was in the range of 0.1-0.2 ng/mL and the mass limit of detection (mLOD) was in the range 1-4 pg on column for the retinoic acids. The assay has been successfully applied to the analysis of 1700 plasma samples.