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Simultaneous quantification of 48 plasma amino acids by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry to investigate urea cycle disorders.

Clinica chimica acta; international journal of clinical chemistry (2019-05-17)
Min-Zhi Peng, Yan-Na Cai, Yong-Xian Shao, Lu Zhao, Min-Yan Jiang, Yun-Ting Lin, Xi Yin, Hui-Ying Sheng, Li Liu
ABSTRACT

Urea cycle disorders (UCD) are inborn errors of ammonia detoxification in which early diagnosis and treatment are critical to prevent metabolic emergencies. Unfortunately, the diagnosis was often and pronounced delayed. To improve diagnosis, we developed herein a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method to investigate the disturbance of amino acid profile caused by UCD. The method enabled absolute quantification of 48 amino acids (AAs) within 20 min. Only 2.5 μL plasma was required for the analysis. The lower limits of quantification for most AAs were 0.01 μmol/L. Method accuracies ranged from 89.9% to 113.4%. The within- and between-run coefficients of variation were 0.8-7.7% and 2.6-14.5%, respectively. With this method, age-specific reference values were established for 42 AAs by analyzing 150 samples from normal controls, and patients with different subtypes of UCD were successfully distinguished. The data of patients revealed that UCD not only disturbed the metabolism of urea cycle AAs and induced accumulation of ammonia detoxification AAs, but also interfered the metabolism of some nervous system related AAs, such as pipecolic acid and N-acetylaspartic acid. This data may provide new insight into pathogenesis for UCD.

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