Journal of pharmaceutical and biomedical analysis

Monitoring utilizations of amino acids and vitamins in culture media and Chinese hamster ovary cells by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry.

PMID 26355770


Monitoring amino acids and vitamins is important for understanding human health, food nutrition and the culture of mammalian cells used to produce therapeutic proteins in biotechnology. A method including ion pairing reversed-phase liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry was developed and optimized to quantify 21 amino acids and 9 water-soluble vitamins in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells and culture media. By optimizing the chromatographic separation, scan time, monitoring time window, and sample preparation procedure, and using isotopically labeled (13)C, (15)N and (2)H internal standards, low limits of quantitation (≤0.054 mg/L), good precision (<10%) and good accuracy (100±10%) were achieved for nearly all the 30 compounds. Applying this method to CHO cell extracts, statistically significant differences in the metabolite levels were measured between two cell lines originated from the same host, indicating differences in genetic makeup or metabolic activities and nutrient supply levels in the culture media. In a fed-batch process of manufacturing scale bioreactors, two distinguished trends for changes in amino acid concentrations were identified in response to feeding. Ten essential amino acids showed a zigzag pattern with maxima at the feeding days, and 9 non-essential amino acids displayed a smoothly changing profile as they were mainly products of cellular metabolism. Five of 9 vitamins accumulated continuously during the culture period, suggesting that they were fed in access. The method serves as an effective tool for the development and optimization of mammalian cell cultures.