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Anal Bioanal Chem. 2013 Feb;405(6):1959-68. doi: 10.1007/s00216-012-6638-7. Epub 2013 Jan 12.

Neuronal metabolomics by ion mobility mass spectrometry: cocaine effects on glucose and selected biogenic amine metabolites in the frontal cortex, striatum, and thalamus of the rat.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164, USA.


We report results of studies of global and targeted neuronal metabolomes by ambient pressure ion mobility mass spectrometry. The rat frontal cortex, striatum, and thalamus were sampled from control nontreated rats and those treated with acute cocaine or pargyline. Quantitative evaluations were made by standard additions or isotopic dilution. The mass detection limit was ~100 pmol varying with the analyte. Targeted metabolites of dopamine, serotonin, and glucose followed the rank order of distribution expected between the anatomical areas. Data was evaluated by principal component analysis on 764 common metabolites (identified by m/z and reduced mobility). Differences between anatomical areas and treatment groups were observed for 53 % of these metabolites using principal component analysis. Global and targeted metabolic differences were observed between the three anatomical areas with contralateral differences between some areas. Following drug treatments, global and targeted metabolomes were found to shift relative to controls and still maintained anatomical differences. Pargyline reduced 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid below detection limits, and 5-HIAA varied between anatomical regions. Notable findings were: (1) global metabolomes were different between anatomical areas and were altered by acute cocaine providing a broad but targeted window of discovery for metabolic changes produced by drugs of abuse; (2) quantitative analysis was demonstrated using isotope dilution and standard addition; (3) cocaine changed glucose and biogenic amine metabolism in the anatomical areas tested; and (4) the largest effect of cocaine was on the glycolysis metabolome in the thalamus confirming inferences from previous positron emission tomography studies using 2-deoxyglucose.

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