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Clin Chem. 2016 Jan;62(1):188-97. doi: 10.1373/clinchem.2015.246702. Epub 2015 Nov 19.

Automated Multiplex LC-MS/MS Assay for Quantifying Serum Apolipoproteins A-I, B, C-I, C-II, C-III, and E with Qualitative Apolipoprotein E Phenotyping.

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Department of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine.
Department of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, Department of Cardiology.
Department of Immunohematology and Blood Transfusion, and.
Department of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, Center for Proteomics and Metabolomics, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands.
Department of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine,



Direct and calculated measures of lipoprotein fractions for cardiovascular risk assessment suffer from analytical inaccuracy in certain dyslipidemic and pathological states, most commonly hypertriglyceridemia. LC-MS/MS has proven suitable for multiplexed quantification and phenotyping of apolipoproteins. We developed and provisionally validated an automated assay for quantification of apolipoprotein (apo) A-I, B, C-I, C-II, C-III, and E and simultaneous qualitative assessment of apoE phenotypes.


We used 5 value-assigned human serum pools for external calibration. Serum proteins were denatured, reduced, and alkylated according to standard mass spectrometry-based proteomics procedures. After trypsin digestion, peptides were analyzed by LC-MS/MS. For each peptide, we measured 2 transitions. We compared LC-MS/MS results to those obtained by an immunoturbidimetric assay or ELISA.


Intraassay CVs were 2.3%-5.5%, and total CVs were 2.5%-5.9%. The LC-MS/MS assay correlated (R = 0.975-0.995) with immunoturbidimetric assays with Conformité Européenne marking for apoA-I, apoB, apoC-II, apoC-III, and apoE in normotriglyceridemic (n = 54) and hypertriglyceridemic (n = 46) sera. Results were interchangeable for apoA-I ≤3.0 g/L (Deming slope 1.014) and for apoB-100 ≤1.8 g/L (Deming slope 1.016) and were traceable to higher-order standards.


The multiplex format provides an opportunity for new diagnostic and pathophysiologic insights into types of dyslipidemia and allows a more personalized approach for diagnosis and treatment of lipid abnormalities.

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