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Int J Mass Spectrom. 2010 Dec;298(1-3):78-90.

Metabolic Profiling of Human Blood by High Resolution Ion Mobility Mass Spectrometry (IM-MS).

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  • 1Washington State University, Pullman, WA, 99163 USA.


A high resolution ion mobility time-of-flight mass spectrometer with electrospray ionization source (ESI-IM-MS) was evaluated as an analytical method for rapid analysis of complex biological samples such as human blood metabolome was investigated. The hybrid instrument (IM-MS) provided an average ion mobility resolving power of ~90 and a mass resolution of ~1500 (at m/z 100). A few µL of whole blood was extracted with methanol, centrifuged and infused into the IM-MS via an electrospray ionization source. Upon IM-MS profiling of the human blood metabolome approximately 1,100 metabolite ions were detected and 300 isomeric metabolites separated in short analyses time (30 minutes). Estimated concentration of the metabolites ranged from the low micromolar to the low nanomolar level. Various classes of metabolites (amino acids, organic acids, fatty acids, carbohydrates, purines and pyrimidines etc) were found to form characteristic mobility-mass correlation curves (MMCC) that aided in metabolite identification. Peaks corresponding to various sterol derivatives, estrogen derivatives, phosphocholines, prostaglandins, and cholesterol derivatives detected in the blood extract were found to occupy characteristic two dimensional IM-MS space. Low abundance metabolite peaks that can be lost in MS random noise were resolved from noise peaks by differentiation in mobility space. In addition, the peak capacity of MS increased six fold by coupling IMS prior to MS analysis.

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