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J Chromatogr. 1991 Dec 6;572(1-2):103-16.

Simultaneous determination of retinol, alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene in serum by isocratic high-performance liquid chromatography.

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Laboratoire de Biochimie C, CHRUG, Grenoble, France.


A simultaneous determination of retinol, alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene in serum by high-performance liquid chromatography is described. Total analysis time is 13 min. A reversed-phase (Ultrasphere ODS, 5 microns) column is used with a mobile phase of acetonitrile-methanol-dichloromethane (70:10:20, v/v/v) and a flow-rate of 1.2 ml/min. Retinol is monitored at 325 nm, alpha-tocopherol at 292 nm and beta-carotene at 450 nm. Serum is deproteinized with ethanol containing the internal standard (alpha-tocopherol acetate), then extracted with hexane. The evaporated organic layer is reconstituted with the mobile phase and injected. The choice of the eluent is discussed, as well as the choice of an internal standard and the need for an antioxidant during the extraction step. Sixteen different eluents are compared in terms of analysis time and selectivity. The linear concentration ranges (retinol 0.016-13.7 microM, alpha-tocopherol 0.18-91.8 microM, beta-carotene 0.05-5.75 microM), within-run coefficients of variation (retinol less than 7%; alpha-tocopherol less than 8%, beta-carotene less than 7%), between-run coefficients of variation (retinol less than 13%, alpha-tocopherol less than 9%, beta-carotene less than 8%) and recoveries (retinol greater than 95%, alpha-tocopherol greater than 91%, beta-carotene greater than 80%) are suitable for clinical investigations. Serum reference values were found to be 2.47 +/- 0.61 microM (retinol), 30.5 +/- 6.8 microM (alpha-tocopherol) and 0.91 +/- 0.55 microM (beta-carotene). A significant difference (p less than 0.001) between males and females was found for retinol.

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