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Chem Res Toxicol. 2011 Oct 17;24(10):1729-34. doi: 10.1021/tx200262d. Epub 2011 Sep 14.

Quantitation of 7-ethylguanine in leukocyte DNA from smokers and nonsmokers by liquid chromatography-nanoelectrospray-high resolution tandem mass spectrometry.

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Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, 420 Delaware St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, United States.


There is considerable evidence for the exposure of humans to an unknown ethylating agent, and some studies indicate that cigarette smoking may be one source of this exposure. Therefore, we have developed a liquid chromatography-nanoelectrospray-high resolution tandem mass spectrometry-selected reaction monitoring (LC-NSI-HRMS/MS-SRM) method for the analysis of 7-ethyl-Gua in human leukocyte DNA, a readily available source of DNA. [(15)N(5)]7-Ethyl-Gua was used as the internal standard. Leukocyte DNA was isolated and treated by thermal neutral hydrolysis. The hydrolysate was partially purified by solid-phase extraction. The fraction containing 7-ethyl-Gua was analyzed by LC-NSI-HRMS/MS-SRM using the transition m/z 180 [M + H](+)→ m/z 152.05669 [Gua + H](+) for 7-ethyl-Gua and m/z 185 → m/z 157.04187 for the internal standard. The detection limit was approximately 10 amol on column, while the limit of quantitation was about 8 fmol/μmol Gua starting with 180 μg DNA (corresponding to 36 μg DNA on-column). Leukocyte DNA samples from 30 smokers and 30 nonsmokers were analyzed. Clear peaks for 7-ethyl-Gua and the internal standard were observed in most of the samples. The mean (±SD) level of 7-ethyl-Gua measured in leukocyte DNA from smokers was 49.6 ± 43.3 (range 14.6-181) fmol/μmol Gua, while that from nonsmokers was 41.3 ± 34.9 (range 9.64-157) fmol/μmol Gua. Although a significant difference between smokers and nonsmokers was not observed, the method described here is unique in the use of high resolution mass spectrometry and establishes for the first time the presence of 7-ethyl-Gua in human leukocyte DNA.

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