Comprehensive quantitative measurement of folate polyglutamates in human erythrocytes by ion pairing ultra-performance liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry.
RATIONALE: The erythrocyte folate pool is reflective of an individual's long-term folate status; however, comprehensive quantitative determination of the various folate isoforms including polyglutamation (Glu(n)) status has posed an analytical problem. Factors complicating such analysis are the absence of authentic (isotope-labeled) standards and the large number of potential analytes. The present work presents high-throughput analytical methodology for the indirect comprehensive quantitation of the erythrocyte folate pool with commercially available standards. METHODS: The erythrocyte folate pool was determined comprehensively by utilizing a cascade of three complementary ultra-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) assays. In a first assay utilizing ion-pairing UPLC/MS/MS the relative (%) polyglutamation distribution (Glu(3-10)) of 5-methyltetrahydrofolate, tetrahydrofolate and 5-formyltetrahydrofolate is determined in a thermal extract obtained from packed erythrocytes, not requiring analytical standards. Quantitation of the erythrocyte folate pool was accomplished by performing two additional stable isotope dilution UPLC/MS/MS assays to determine whole blood and plasma folate content, utilizing commercially available [(13)C(5)]-labeled analogs of the Glu(1) analytes. Based on the values provided by each individual assay the comprehensive erythrocyte folate content could be calculated. RESULTS: The various assays have been validated for intra- and inter-run precision, accuracy, linearity and are robust. The method was sensitive enough to measure the comprehensive erythrocyte folate distribution in a Down's syndrome patient with extremely low folate, bearing the C677T mutation in the gene encoding for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. CONCLUSIONS: The erythrocyte folate pool can be comprehensively quantitated by running three complementary UPLC/MS/MS assays. The present assays are robust and allow for high-throughput analysis. The method can be utilized to support larger investigations that investigate the relationship between folate isoform and polyglutamation distribution and disease pathogenesis.
van Haandel, L; Becker, ML; Williams, TD; Stobaugh, JF; Leeder, JS
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