Quantitative acylcarnitine determination by UHPLC-MS/MS--Going beyond tandem MS acylcarnitine "profiles".
ABSTRACT: Tandem MS "profiling" of acylcarnitines and amino acids was conceived as a first-tier screening method, and its application to expanded newborn screening has been enormously successful. However, unlike amino acid screening (which uses amino acid analysis as its second-tier validation of screening results), acylcarnitine "profiling" also assumed the role of second-tier validation, due to the lack of a generally accepted second-tier acylcarnitine determination method. In this report, we present results from the application of our validated UHPLC-MS/MS second-tier method for the quantification of total carnitine, free carnitine, butyrobetaine, and acylcarnitines to patient samples with known diagnoses: malonic acidemia, short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (SCADD) or isobutyryl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (IBD), 3-methyl-crotonyl carboxylase deficiency (3-MCC) or ß-ketothiolase deficiency (BKT), and methylmalonic acidemia (MMA). We demonstrate the assay's ability to separate constitutional isomers and diastereomeric acylcarnitines and generate values with a high level of accuracy and precision. These capabilities are unavailable when using tandem MS "profiles". We also show examples of research interest, where separation of acylcarnitine species and accurate and precise acylcarnitine quantification is necessary.
Project description:Acylcarnitines are fatty acyl esters of L-carnitine and facilitate the entry of long-chain fatty acids into mitochondria via the carnitine shuttle, where they are metabolized via ß-oxidation. Alterations of acylcarnitine species can be diagnostic for fatty acid oxidation disorders and organic aciduria and are thus frequently used to screen newborns. Only a subfraction of all known acylcarnitines is thereby monitored and quantified. Therefore, a method for the simultaneous fast and robust detection of all known acylcarnitines was developed using a single concise liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS) approach. Derivatization by 3-nitrophenylhydrazine increased the signal intensity of the acylcarnitines and a linear elution from a reversed phase column was observed that was dependent on the length of the carbon chain. This allowed a precise prediction of the exact elution time for each acylcarnitine class, which depended solely on the chemical nature of the carbon chain. This method can be further used to screen for yet unknown acylcarnitine species and adds a layer of confidence for their correct identification. Altogether 123 acylcarnitines species were used to establish a targeted low-resolution LC-MS method. The method was applied to acylcarnitine profiling in several mouse tissues and fluids, in order to identify large differences in the quantity and composition of acylcarnitines.
Project description:3-Hydroxypalmitoleoyl-carnitine (C16:1-OH) has recently been reported to be elevated in acylcarnitine profiles of patients with propionic acidemia (PA) or methylmalonic acidemia (MMA) during expanded newborn screening (NBS). High levels of C16:1-OH, combined with other hydroxylated long chain acylcarnitines are related to long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (LCHADD) and trifunctional protein (TFP) deficiency.The acylcarnitine profile of two LCHADD patients was evaluated using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometric method. A specific retention time was determined for each hydroxylated long chain acylcarnitine. The same method was applied to some neonatal dried blood spots (DBSs) from PA and MMA patients presenting abnormal C16:1-OH concentrations.The retention time of the peak corresponding to C16:1-OH in LCHADD patients differed from those in MMA and PA patients. Heptadecanoylcarnitine (C17) has been identified as the novel biomarker specific for PA and MMA patients through high resolution mass spectrometry (Orbitrap) experiments. We found that 21 out of 23 neonates (22 MMA, and 1PA) diagnosed through the Tuscany region NBS program exhibited significantly higher levels of C17 compared to controls. Twenty-three maternal deficiency (21 vitamin B12 deficiency, 1 homocystinuria and 1 gastrin deficiency) samples and 82 false positive for elevated propionylcarnitine (C3) were also analyzed.We have characterized a novel biomarker able to detect propionate disorders during expanded newborn screening (NBS). The use of this new biomarker may improve the analytical performances of NBS programs especially in laboratories where second tier tests are not performed.
Project description:Acylcarnitines are intermediates of fatty acid and amino acid oxidation found in tissues and body fluids. They are important diagnostic markers for inherited diseases of peroxisomal and mitochondrial oxidation processes and were recently described as biomarkers of complex diseases like the metabolic syndrome. Quantification of acylcarnitine species can become challenging because various species occur as isomers and/or have very low concentrations. Here we describe a new LC-MS/MS method for quantification of 56 acylcarnitine species with acyl-chain lengths from C2 to C18. Our method includes amino acid-derived positional isomers, like methacrylyl-carnitine (2-M-C3:1-CN) and crotonyl-carnitine (C4:1-CN), and odd-numbered carbon species, like pentadecanoyl-carnitine (C15:0-CN) and heptadecanoyl-carnitine (C17:0-CN), occurring at very low concentrations in plasma and tissues. Method validation in plasma and liver samples showed high sensitivity and excellent accuracy and precision. In an application to samples from streptozotocin-treated diabetic mice, we identified significantly increased concentrations of acylcarnitines derived from branched-chain amino acid degradation and of odd-numbered straight-chain species, recently proposed as potential biomarkers for the metabolic syndrome. In conclusion, the LC-MS/MS method presented here allows robust quantification of isomeric acylcarnitine species and extends the palette of acylcarnitines with diagnostic potential derived from fatty acid and amino acid metabolism.
Project description:Patients with beta-thalassemia major (BTM) suffer from fatigue, poor physical fitness, muscle weakness, lethargy, and cardiac complications which are related to an energy crisis. Carnitine and acylcarnitine derivatives play important roles in fatty acid oxidation, and deregulation of carnitine and acylcarnitine metabolism may lead to an energy crisis. The present study aimed to investigate carnitine and acylcarnitine metabolites to gain an insight into the pathophysiology of BTM. Dried blood spots of 45 patients with BTM and 96 age-matched healthy controls were analyzed for free carnitine and 24 acylcarnitines by using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Although medium chain acylcarnitine levels were similar in the patients with BTM and healthy controls, free carnitine, short chain acylcarnitines, long chain acylcarnitines, and total acylcarnitine levels were significantly lower in patients with BTM than in the healthy controls (P?<?0.05). Moreover, an impaired fatty acid oxidation rate was observed in the patients with BTM, as manifested by decreased fatty acid oxidation indicator ratios, namely C2/C0 and (C2?+?C3)/C0. Furthermore, an increase in the C0/(C16?+?C18) ratio indicated reduced carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1 (CPT-1) activity in the patients with BTM compared with that in the healthy controls. Thus, a low level of free carnitine and acylcarnitines together with impaired CPT-1 activity contribute to energy crisis-related complications in the patients with BTM.
Project description:Large for gestational age (LGA) newborns have an increased risk of obesity, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome. Acylcarnitine profiles in obese children and adults are characterized by increased levels of C3, C5, and certain medium-chain (C12) and long-chain (C14:1 and C16) acylcarnitines. C2 is also increased in insulin-resistant states. In this 1-year observational study of 2514 newborns (246 LGA newborns, 250 small for gestational age (GA) newborns, and 2018 appropriate for GA newborns), we analyzed and compared postnatal acylcarnitine profiles in LGA newborns with profiles described for obese individuals. Acylcarnitine analysis was performed by tandem mass spectrometry on dried-blood spots collected on day 3 of life. LGA newborns had higher levels of total short-chain acylcarnitines (p?<?0.001), C2 (p?<?0.01) and C3 (p?<?0.001) acylcarnitines, and all C12, C14, and C16 acylcarnitines except C12:1. They also had a higher tendency towards carnitine insufficiency (p?<?0.05) and carnitine deficiency (p?<?0.001). No significant differences were observed between LGA newborns born to mothers with or without a history of gestational diabetes. This novel study describes a postnatal acylcarnitine profile in LGA with higher levels of C2, C3, total acylcarnitines, and total short-chain acylcarnitines that is characteristic of childhood and adult obesity and linked to an unhealthy metabolic phenotype.
Project description:Medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (MCAD) deficiency is the most frequently diagnosed mitochondrial beta-oxidation defect, and it is potentially fatal. Eighty percent of patients are homozygous for a common mutation, 985A-->G, and a further 18% have this mutation in only one disease allele. In addition, a large number of rare disease-causing mutations have been identified and characterized. There is no clear genotype-phenotype correlation. High 985A-->G carrier frequencies in populations of European descent and the usual avoidance of recurrent disease episodes by patients diagnosed with MCAD deficiency who comply with a simple dietary treatment suggest that MCAD deficiency is a candidate in prospective screening of newborns. Therefore, several such screening programs employing analysis of acylcarnitines in blood spots by tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) are currently used worldwide. No validation of this method by mutation analysis has yet been reported. We investigated for MCAD mutations in newborns from US populations who had been identified by prospective MS/MS-based screening of 930,078 blood spots. An MCAD-deficiency frequency of 1/15,001 was observed. Our mutation analysis shows that the MS/MS-based method is excellent for detection of MCAD deficiency but that the frequency of the 985A-->G mutant allele in newborns with a positive acylcarnitine profile is much lower than that observed in clinically affected patients. Our identification of a new mutation, 199T-->C, which has never been observed in patients with clinically manifested disease but was present in a large proportion of the acylcarnitine-positive samples, may explain this skewed ratio. Overexpression experiments showed that this is a mild folding mutation that exhibits decreased levels of enzyme activity only under stringent conditions. A carrier frequency of 1/500 in the general population makes the 199T-->C mutation one of the three most prevalent mutations in the enzymes of fatty-acid oxidation.
Project description:Liquid Chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) is used for the diagnosis of more than 30 inborn errors of metabolisms (IEMs). Accurate and reliable diagnosis of IEMs by quantifying amino acids (AAs) and acylcarnitines (ACs) using LC-MS/MS systems depend on the establishment of age-specific cut-offs of the analytes. This study aimed to (1) determine the age-specific cut-off values of AAs and ACs in Bangladesh and (2) validate the LC-MS/MS method for diagnosis of the patients with IEMs. A total of 570 enrolled healthy participants were divided into 3 age groups, namely, (1) newborns (1-7 days), (2) 8 days-7 years, and (3) 8-17 years, to establish the age-specific cut-offs for AAs and ACs. Also, 273 suspected patients with IEMs were enrolled to evaluate the reliability of the established cut-off values. Quantitation of AAs and ACs was performed on an automated LC-MS/MS system using dried blood spot (DBS) cards. Then the specimens of the enrolled clinically suspected patients were analyzed by the established method. Nine patients came out as screening positive for different IEMs, including two borderline positive cases of medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (MCAD). A second-tier test for confirmation of the screening positive cases was conducted by urinary metabolic profiling using gas chromatography- mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Out of 9 cases that came out as screening positive by LC-MS/MS, seven cases were confirmed by urinary GC-MS analysis including 3 cases with phenylketonuria, 1 with citrullinemia type II, 1 with methylmalonic acidemia, 1 with isovaleric acidemia and 1 with carnitine uptake defect. Two borderline positive cases with MCAD were found negative by urinary GC-MS analysis. In conclusion, along with establishment of a validated LC-MS/MS method for quantitation of AAs and ACs from the DBS cards, the study also demonstrates the presence of predominantly available IEMs in Bangladesh.
Project description:Because tandem mass spectrometry- (MS/MS-) based newborn screening identifies many suspicious cases of fatty acid oxidation and carnitine cycle disorders, a simple, noninvasive test is required to confirm the diagnosis. We have developed a novel method to evaluate the metabolic defects in peripheral blood mononuclear cells loaded with deuterium-labeled fatty acids directly using the ratios of acylcarnitines determined by flow injection MS/MS. We have identified diagnostic indices for the disorders as follows: decreased ratios of d27-C14-acylcarnitine/d31-C16-acylcarnitine and d23-C12-acylcarnitine/d31-C16-acylcarnitine for carnitine palmitoyltransferase-II (CPT-II) deficiency, decreased ratios of d23-C12-acylcarnitine/d27-C14-acylcarnitine for very long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (VLCAD) deficiency, and increased ratios of d29-C16-OH-acylcarnitine/d31-C16-acylcarnitine for trifunctional protein (TFP) deficiency, together with increased ratios of d7-C4-acylcarnitine/d31-C16-acylcarnitine for carnitine palmitoyltransferase-I deficiency. The decreased ratios of d1-acetylcarnitine/d31-C16-acylcarnitine could be indicative of ?-oxidation ability in patients with CPT-II, VLCAD, and TFP deficiencies. Overall, our data showed that the present method was valuable for establishing a rapid diagnosis of fatty acid oxidation disorders and carnitine cycle disorders and for complementing gene analysis because our diagnostic indices may overcome the weaknesses of conventional enzyme activity measurements using fibroblasts or mononuclear cells with assumedly uncertain viability.
Project description:Cobalamin (Vitamin B12) plays an essential role both in the conversion of methylmalonyl-CoA to succinyl-CoA and in the synthesis of methionine (Met) from homocysteine (Hcy). Elevations of total homocysteine (tHcy), Met, methylmalonic acid (MMA), and 2-methylcitric acid (2MCA) are indicative of disorders in these related pathways, and can clinically present as methylmalonic acidemia, cobalamin defects or deficiency, propionic acidemia, homocystinuria, and hypermethioninemia. We have developed a fast, sensitive, and simple method for the simultaneous detection of plasma tHcy, MMA, Met, and 2MCA using liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS). All analytes were directly determined without the need of derivatization. Both positive and negative modes were used to achieve the best sensitivity and specificity. The two stereo isomers of 2MCA (2S, 3S) and (2R, 3S) were successfully separated and were designated as 2MCA1 and 2MCA2. The assays were linear up to a concentration of 800 ?Mol/l for tHcy, 2,000 ?Mol/l for Met, 80 ?Mol/l for MMA, 40 ?Mol/l for 2MCA1, and 40 ?Mol/l for 2MCA2 (80 ?Mol/l for total 2MCA), respectively. The recovery was between 84.42 % and 120.05 %. The intra-assay coefficient of variations (CVs) ranged from 2.1 % to 6.9 % (n = 20), and the inter-assay CVs ranged from 2.7 % to 11.6 % (n = 20). Reference intervals were established and verified (n = 125). A total of 15 patients with variable disorders in related pathway were successfully confirmed. The assay can be performed either in diagnostic laboratories or as second-tier, follow-up test in newborn screening laboratories.A fast, sensitive, and simple LC/MS/MS method was developed successfully for the simultaneous detection of plasma total homocysteine, methylmalonic acid, methionine, and 2-methylcitric acid for diagnosis of disorders in related pathways.
Project description:Methylmalonic Acidurias (MMAs) are a group of inborn errors of metabolism (IEMs), specifically of propionate catabolism characterized by gastrointestinal and neurometabolic manifestations resulting from a deficiency in the function of methylmalonyl-CoA mutase, methylmalonyl-CoA epimerase, and cobalamin metabolism. In Expanded Newborn Screening (NBS), increased levels of propionylcarnitine (C3) and/or of its ratios by MS/MS analysis of dried blood spots (DBS) samples are suggestive for either Propionic Acidemia or MMAs. C3 elevation is not considered a specific marker for these disorders, resulting in high false-positive rates. The use of analyte ratios improves specificity, but it still cannot resolve the diagnostic issue. Second-tier testing are strongly recommended as confirmation of primary NBS results and for a differential diagnosis. LC-MS/MS analysis allows the quantification of more specific markers of the disorder. Here, we report the case of a newborn with a suspected MMA at Expanded NBS and at second-tier test. Given the urgent situation, in-depth diagnostic investigations were performed. Further investigations surprisingly revealed a Vitamin B12 deficiency due to a maternal malnutrition during pregnancy. This case emphasized that metabolic alterations at NBS may not only be influenced by genome and related to IEMs, but also to external factors and to maternal conditions.