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Quantitative characterization of glutaminolysis in human plasma using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry

Hua, Yunfei, Yang, Xuping, Li, Ruiting, Liu, Peifang, Liu, Peijia, Li, Linrui, Yuan, Xia, Hua, Xiaoyi, Tian, Yuan, Zhang, Zunjian, Huang, Yin
Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry 2019 v.411 no.10 pp. 2045-2055
alanine, ammonium acetate, aspartic acid, citrates, glutamic acid, glutamine, guidelines, ionization, liquid chromatography, metabolites, monitoring, noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, patients, standard deviation, tandem mass spectrometry, tricarboxylic acid cycle
Glutaminolysis is the metabolic pathway that lyses glutamine to glutamate, alanine, citrate, aspartate, and so on. As partially recruiting reaction steps from the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and the malate-aspartate shuttle, glutaminolysis takes essential place in physiological and pathological situations. We herein developed a sensitive, rapid, and reproducible liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method to determine the perturbation of glutaminolysis in human plasma by quantifying 13 involved metabolites in a single 20-min run. A pHILIC column with a gradient elution system consisting of acetonitrile-5 mM ammonium acetate was used for separation, while an electrospray ionization source (ESI) operated in negative mode with multiple reaction monitoring was employed for detection. The method was fully validated according to FDA’s guidelines, and it generally provided good results in terms of linearity (the correlation coefficient no less than 0.9911 within the range of 0.05–800 μg/mL), intra- and inter-day precision (less than 18.38%) and accuracy (relative standard deviation between 89.24 and 113.4%), with lower limits of quantification between 0.05 and 10 μg/mL. The new analytical approach was successfully applied to analyze the plasma samples from 38 healthy volunteers and 34 patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D). Based on the great sensitivity and comprehensive capacity, the targeted analysis revealed the imperceptible abnormalities in the concentrations of key intermediates, such as iso-citrate and cis-aconitate, thus allowing us to obtain a thorough understanding of glutaminolysis disorder during T2D. Graphical abstract ᅟ