GC–MS and GC–MS/MS measurement of the cardiovascular risk factor homoarginine in biological samples
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l-Homoarginine (hArg) has recently emerged as a novel cardiovascular risk factor and to herald a poor prognosis in heart failure patients. Here, we report on the development and thorough validation of gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) and gas chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (GC–MS/MS) methods for the quantitative determination of hArg in biological samples, including human plasma, urine and sputum. For plasma and serum samples, ultrafiltrate (10 µL; cutoff, 10 kDa) was used. For urine samples, native urine (10 µL) was used. For sputum, protein precipitation by acetone was performed. hArg is derivatized to its methyl ester tri(N-pentafluoropropionyl) derivative; de novo synthesized trideutero-methyl ester hArg is used as the internal standard (IS). Alternatively, [guanidino-15N2]-arginine can be used as an IS. Quantitative analyses were performed after electron-capture negative-ion chemical ionization by selected-ion monitoring in GC–MS and selected-reaction monitoring in GC–MS/MS. We obtained very similar hArg concentrations by GC–MS and GC–MS/MS, suggesting that GC–MS suffices for accurate and precise quantification of hArg in biological samples. In plasma and serum samples of the same subjects very close hArg concentrations were measured. The plasma-to-serum hArg concentration ratio was determined to be 1.12 ± 0.21 (RSD, 19 %), suggesting that blood anticoagulation is not a major preanalytical concern in hArg analysis. In healthy subjects, the creatinine-corrected urinary excretion of hArg varies considerably (0.18 ± 0.22 µmol/mmol, mean ± SD, n = 19) unlike asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA, 2.89 ± 0.89 µmol/mmol). In urine, hArg correlated with ADMA (r = 0.475, P = 0.040); in average, subjects excreted in the urine about 17.5 times more ADMA than hArg. In plasma of healthy humans, the concentration of hArg is of the order of 2 µM. hArg may be a low-abundance constituent of human plasma proteins. The GC–MS and GC-MS/MS methods we report in this article are useful to study the physiology and pathology of hArg in experimental and clinical settings.
KeywordsGC–MS Homoarginine Plasma Stable isotopes Urine Validation
N G ,N G -Dimethyl-l-arginine
Electron-capture negative-ion chemical ionization
Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry
Gas chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry
Liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry
Nitric oxide synthase
We thank the staff of the Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, Hannover Medical School, for providing us with spot urine samples for the analysis of hArg and its relatives.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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