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Determination of Homocysteine in Human Saliva by Liquid Chromatography and Electrospray Ionization Quadrupole Time-of-flight Mass Spectrometry: Profiles in Healthy Adults

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Homocysteine (Hcys) is a non-essential amino acid associated with a range of diseased and abnormal metabolic conditions. Hcys concentration in saliva is routinely determined by enzyme assays, which are broadly specific, but can be expensive and suffer from cross-reactivity. Total Hcys (tHcys) concentrations in eight healthy adults were determined to establish the inter-day variation during resting, normal and intensive physical activity, using the more sensitive analytical techniques of liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry without prior derivatization. Saliva (~ 1.5 mL) was collected over four days; early morning (EA), normal activity (NA) and during physical activity (PA). Samples were processed by disulphide reduction, acetonitrile precipitation and then centrifugation-filtration. Extracts were chromatographically resolved and analysed on a quadrupole time- of-flight (QToF) mass spectrometer. The protonated [M+H]+, m/z 136.101 and product ([M+H]+- HCOOH) m/z 90.103 ions were then monitored against an internal standard (13CHcys) and external set of calibration standards. Mean tHcys concentration for the whole group, including exercise was 6.6 ± 8.0 (range 0.2 – 29.6 nmol/mL). Overall, concentration of tHcys was greater in males than the females but not significantly (p > 0.05). The mean EA concentration was significantly < 0.05) greater than NA for both males (p = 0340) and females (p = 0.0045). There were large within-subject variations (coefficient of variation; CV%; 24% to 103%). The limits of detection (LOD) and quantification (LOQ) were 0.07 and 0.22 nmol/mL, respectively. The procedure potentially provides a convenient means of analyzing salivary Hcys as a diagnostic disease marker.
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Keywords: Acetonitrile precipitation; Homocysteine; healthy adults; liquid chromatography mass spectrometry; quadrupole time-of- flight; saliva

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2013

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  • Protein & Peptide Letters publishes short papers in all important aspects of protein and peptide research, including structural studies, recombinant expression, function, synthesis, enzymology, immunology, molecular modeling, drug design etc. Manuscripts must have a significant element of novelty, timeliness and urgency that merit rapid publication. Reports of crystallisation, and preliminary structure determinations of biologically important proteins are acceptable. Purely theoretical papers are also acceptable provided they provide new insight into the principles of protein/peptide structure and function.
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