Biochemistry, Department of


Date of this Version



J Chromatogr A. 2010 January 29; 1217(5): 667


Open Access. Used by Permission.


A general approach for discovering novel catabolic metabolites from a parent biocompound was developed and validated on metabolism of γ-tocopherol in human A549 cell. Method is based on LC-MS analysis of in vitro stable isotope labeled metabolites and assumes that a parent compound and its metabolites share a common functional group that can be derivatized by well-documented reagents. In this method, two equal aliquots of extracted metabolites are separately derivatized with isotope-coded (heavy) and non-isotope-coded (light) form of derivatizing reagent, mixed at 1:1 ratio and analyzed using LC-MS. The metabolites with common functional group are then easily recognized by determination of a chromatographically co-eluted pair of isotopomers (MS doublet peaks) with similar peak intensities and mass difference corresponding to the mass difference between heavy and light form of derivatization reagent. The feasibility of this approach was demonstrated and validated by identification of products of γ-tocopherol catabolism in human A549 cell culture media using N-methyl-nicotinic acid N-hydroxysuccinimide ester (C1-NANHS) and Nmethyl- d3-nicotinic acid N-hydroxysuccinimide ester (C1-d3-NANHS) derivatizing reagent. Overall four γ-tocopherol metabolites were identified including 9'-COOH, 11'-COOH, 13'-COOH and 13'-OH. In addition, the developed LC-MS method can also be used for the fast and sensitive quantitative analysis of γ-tocopherol and other forms of vitamin E related compounds.