In this study, a simultaneous assay for catecholamines and their metabolites in the brain was established using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). To achieve complete separation, a cation-exchange/reversed-phase mixedmode copolymer resin column containing 0.81 wt% sulfo groups was used for the simultaneous LC-MS assay. The analyzed catecholamines were dopamine (DA), norepinephrine (NE), and epinephrine (E), while the metabolites lacking amino groups were 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC), homovanillic acid (HVA), and 3-methoxy-4- hydroxyphenylglycol (MHPG). The metabolites were separated and detected using LC-MS, on columns with and without sulfo groups. However, we could not achieve adequate separation of catecholamines on both columns using a gradient elution of 0 - 50 (v/v)% methanol containing 0.1 (v/v)% formic acid (FA). When volatile ion-pairing reagents were added to the mobile phase, they improved the retention and detection of catecholamines on the sulfonated mixed-mode column. Under optimized elution conditions, which involved a linear gradient elution of water containing 0.1 (v/v)% FA to 50 (v/v)% acetonitrile in 50 mM ammonium formate at 40°C and a 0.20 mL/min rate, all six target molecules were simultaneously detected within 25 min, when using negative mode LC-MS on a sulfonated mixed-mode column. The limits of detection (LODs) for DA, NE, E, DOPCA, HVA, and MHPG were determined to be 20.7, 12.6, 74.6, 1110, 18.7, and 3196 nM, respectively. Moreover, the established LC-MS assay allowed the detection of endogenous DA, NE, and HVA, in normal mouse brain samples at concentrations higher than 20, 9, and 4 pmol/mg, respectively.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Analytical Chemistry