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J Anal At Spectrom. 2019 Apr 1;34(4):741-752. doi: 10.1039/C8JA00423D. Epub 2019 Feb 25.

Ultra-trace element analysis of human follicular fluid by ICP-MS/MS: pre-analytical challenges, contamination control, and matrix effects.

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Laboratory of Inorganic and Nuclear Chemistry, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Albany, NY, USA.
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, The University at Albany, State University of New York, Rensselaer, NY, USA.
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University at Albany, State University of New York, Rensselaer, NY, USA.
present address: Thermo Fisher Scientific, 75 Panorama Creek Drive, Rochester, NY 14625.
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.


Follicular fluid (FF), which is the fluid that envelops the developing oocyte (egg cell) in the ovary, can be analyzed to assess trace element content as well as to determine potential exposure to toxic elements in women seeking in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. Such measurements may be useful in establishing associations with potential adverse effects on oocyte viability and subsequent pregnancy outcomes. The principal goal of this study was to leverage the next generation of inorganic mass spectrometry based on ICP-MS/MS to address the numerous analytical challenges of (ultra-)trace element analysis of human FF specimens. Ultra-trace element measurements are defined by the Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute as fluid concentrations below 10 μg L-1 or tissue mass fractions below 1 μg g-1. Stringent pre-analytical procedures were developed to minimize exogenous contamination during FF specimen collection and storage in a prospective study of 56 women seeking IVF treatment. ICP-MS/MS instrumental parameters were carefully optimized, and the method validated for 11 biologically important elements that included 4 at trace levels (Cu, Se, Sr, and Zn) and 7 at ultra-trace levels (As, Cd, Co, Mo, Mn, Hg, and Pb). Method limits of detection (LODs) for ultra-trace elements varied from 5.6 ng L-1 for Cd to 0.11 μg L-1 for Mo. A total of 197 human FF specimens were analyzed using the proposed ICP-MS/MS method with 84% of specimens detectable for Pb and 100% detectable for Co, Cu, Mn, Mo, Sr, and Zn. The method based on ICP-MS/MS was compared to a previous method developed for FF using SF-ICP-MS.


ICP-MS/MS; QQQ-ICP-MS; contamination; human follicular fluid; trace elements; ultra-trace elements

[Available on 2020-04-01]

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