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Semin Perinatol. 1999 Apr;23(2):183-93.

Application of electrospray tandem mass spectrometry to neonatal screening.

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Department of Biological and Medical Research, King Faisal Specialist Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


For the past 30 years, neonatal screening programs have been performed largely by using the bacterial inhibition assays developed by Dr Robert Guthrie. These programs focused on a small number of diseases such as phenylketonuria and maple syrup urine disease and involved one test for each disease. During the same period many new diseases were discovered, such as organic acidemias and fatty acid oxidation defects, and they presented a diagnostic challenge to biochemical laboratories. Different mass spectrometric approaches have been the main tools for the diagnosis; however, each has its own limitation. Recently, electrospray tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) has provided an alternative automated high throughput, specific, and broad-spectrum approach to screening for a relatively large number of disorders, including those covered by bacterial inhibition assays tests. By using specific scan functions, a large number of amino acids and acylcarnitines in blood spots are quantified in 2 minutes analytical time. A new scan function is described here for quantification and screening for argininosuccinic acid in blood spots, which is a key metabolite in the diagnosis of argininosuccinase deficiency. We describe the results of a 3-year tandem MS/MS-based neonatal study that was performed in our newborn population. We screened 27,624 blood spots and identified 20 cases yielding a frequency of 1:1,381. No false-negative cases were identified, but several false-positive cases were eliminated by repeat analysis by MS/MS of blood or by other means. We also used MS/MS analysis of urine or blood either for confirmation of initial positive results or for follow-up of treatment, such as in glutaric acidemia, citrullinemia, argininosuccinase deficiency, and biopterin-dependent phenylketonuria.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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