Journal of chromatography. B, Analytical technologies in the biomedical and life sciences

A liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method to measure fatty acids in biological samples.

PMID 28467947


As pre-clinical and clinical research interest in ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) increases, so does the need for a fast, accurate and reproducible analytical method to measure fatty acids (FA) in biological samples in order to validate potential prognostic and predictive biomarkers, as well as establishing compliance in ω-3 PUFA intervention trials. We developed a LC-ESI-MS/MS method suitable for high throughput development to measure FAs and validated it in the context of treatment with the ω-3 PUFA eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Uniquely we directly compared the LC-ESI-MS/MS method to a GC-MS protocol. We demonstrated the LC-ESI-MS/MS method is accurate and reproducible, with coefficients of variation consistently below 15% for each PUFA analysed. The relative FA content values correlated well with those obtained by GC-MS (r(2)=0.94, p<0.001 for EPA) in vitro. The data obtained following analysis of FA content of liver tissues from mice fed an eicosapentaenoic acid enriched diet showed similar results to that of published studies in which GC-MS was used. The LC-ESI-MS/MS method allows concomitant analysis of unesterified (free, unbound) and esterified (bound) FAs in biological samples, allowing investigation of different PUFA pools in cells and tissues.