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Molecular genetics and metabolism

A straightforward, quantitative ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometric method for heparan sulfate, dermatan sulfate and chondroitin sulfate in urine: an improved clinical screening test for the mucopolysaccharidoses.


PMID 25458519

Abstract

Mucopolysaccharidoses (MPS) are complex storage disorders that result in the accumulation of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) in urine, blood, brain and other tissues. Symptomatic patients are typically screened for MPS by analysis of GAG in urine. Current screening methods used in clinical laboratories are based on colorimetric assays that lack the sensitivity and specificity to reliably detect mild GAG elevations that occur in some patients with MPS. We have developed a straightforward, reliable method to quantify chondroitin sulfate (CS), dermatan sulfate (DS) and heparan sulfate (HS) in urine by stable isotope dilution tandem mass spectrometry. The GAGs were methanolyzed to uronic acid-N-acetylhexosamine or iduronic acid-N-glucosamine dimers and mixed with stable isotope labeled internal standards derived from deuteriomethanolysis of GAG standards. Specific dimers derived from HS, DS and CS were separated by ultra-performance liquid chromatography and analyzed by electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry using selected reaction monitoring for each targeted GAG product and its corresponding internal standard. The method was robust with a mean inaccuracy from 1 to 15%, imprecision below 11%, and a lower limit of quantification of 0.4mg/L for CS, DS and HS. We demonstrate that the method has the required sensitivity and specificity to discriminate patients with MPS III, MPS IVA and MPS VI from those with MPS I or MPS II and can detect mildly elevated GAG species relative to age-specific reference intervals. This assay may also be used for the monitoring of patients following therapeutic intervention. Patients with MPS IVB are, however, not detectable by this method.

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