Development of a new quantification method for organic acids in urine as potential biomarkers for respiratory illness.


College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5C9, Canada. Electronic address: [Email]


Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are common respiratory disorders that have similar clinical presentation and misdiagnosis may lead to improper treatment. There is a need for a better, non-invasive test for the differentiation of asthma and COPD. In this study, we developed a new validated LC-MS/MS method for 17 urinary organic acids that could serve as potential biomarkers. Human urine samples were collected from adults with asthma or COPD. LC-MS/MS was performed using the differential isotope labeling approach. 4-(Dimethylamino) phenacyl bromide (DmPA) was used for derivatization using two different carbon isotopes, allowing for the formation of internal standard for each metabolite. Gradient elution was employed on a C18 column while the LC-MS/MS operated in the multiple reaction monitoring mode (MRM). Regulatory guidelines were used for method validation. Partial Least Squares Discriminative Analysis (PLS-DA) was applied to the log-transformed values of metabolites in each group of asthma and COPD subjects. Full validation in targeted metabolomics is scarce with usually limited number of metabolites, unlike fit-for-purpose approach. Due to the endogenous nature of the metabolites, numerous challenges were encountered during method development and validation, such as the lactic acid interference from the surrounding environment. The required specificity, accuracy and precision was successfully achieved. The method was fully validated, ensuring robustness and reproducibility when analyzing patient samples. The method was applied to analyze human urine samples and PLS-DA analysis showed differentiation of asthma and COPD subjects (R2 0.89, Q2 0.68). As targeted metabolomics is expanding to the clinical sphere, more validated methods/strategies are needed. Our work will expand the current knowledge-base regarding targeted metabolomics.


Asthma,COPD,DmPA derivatization,LC-MS/MS,Targeted metabolomics,Urine,Validation,

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