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J Lipid Res. 2008 Apr;49(4):893-902. doi: 10.1194/jlr.D700030-JLR200. Epub 2008 Jan 9.

An improved LC-MS/MS procedure for brain prostanoid analysis using brain fixation with head-focused microwave irradiation and liquid-liquid extraction.

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Department of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Therapeutics, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND 58202-9037, USA.


High-performance liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry detection (LC-MS/MS) allows a highly selective, sensitive, simultaneous analysis for prostanoids (PG) without derivatization. However, high chemical background noise reduces LC-MS/MS selectivity and sensitivity for brain PG analysis. Four common methods using different solvent systems for PG extraction were tested. Although these methods had the same recovery of PG, the modified acetone extraction followed by liquid/liquid purification had the greatest sensitivity. This method combined with hexane/2-propanol extraction permits the simultaneous analysis of other lipid molecules and PG in the same extract. We also determined that PG mass in brain powder stored at -80 degrees C was reduced 2- to 4- fold in 4 weeks; however, PG were stable for long periods (>3 months) in hexane/2-propanol extracts. PG mass was increased significantly when mice were euthanized by decapitation and the brains rapidly flash-frozen rather than euthanized using head-focused microwave irradiation. This reduction is not the result of PG trapping or destruction in microwave-irradiated brains, demonstrating its importance in limiting mass artifacts during brain PG analysis. Our improved procedure for brain PG analysis provides a reliable, rapid means to detect changes in brain PG mass under both basal and pathological conditions and demonstrates the importance of sample preparation in this process.

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