Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry

A study of inter-species ion suppression in electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry of some phospholipid classes.

PMID 26780707


Phospholipid quantification in biological samples is crucial and is increasingly studied in lipidomics. Quantitative studies are often performed using commercially available standards of phospholipid classes in order to mimic the composition of biological samples. For this, studies are conducted by liquid chromatography coupled to electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry. In liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (LC-MS) analysis, the matrix components and the co-elution of several phospholipid species lead to the phenomenon of ion suppression. As a result, a decrease in the response of phospholipid species in mass spectrometry MS is observed. In fact, inter-species ion suppression affects the efficiency of phospholipid (PL) ionization and might also influence the quantitative results. The aim of this work is to study the PL inter-species ion suppression phenomenon in electrospray ionization (ESI)-mass spectrometry on a triple quadrupole TQ and an LTQ-Orbitrap in order to improve quantification in natural and biological samples. Thus, the phospholipid MS response was evaluated to study the effect of acyl chain length, the degree, and the position of unsaturation on acyl chain and the effect of the polar head group structure. A number of saturated and unsaturated phospholipid species and mixtures were analyzed in different ionization modes to a better understanding of inter-species ion suppression phenomenon. PL molecular species responded differently according to the length of fatty acid chains, the number of unsaturation, and the nature of the polar head group. Fatty acid chain length showed to have the most marked effect on MS response.