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Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2004;18(9):989-94.

Enhancing capillary liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry of biogenic amines by pre-column derivatization with 7-fluoro-4-nitrobenzoxadiazole.

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Department of Chemistry, Jackson State University, 1400 Lynch Street, Jackson, MS 39204, USA.


This paper describes a capillary liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) determination of biogenic amines enhanced by pre-column derivatization with 7-fluoro-4-nitrobenzoxadiazole (NBD-F). Biogenic amines including tryptamine, N-methylsalsolinol, histamine, and agmatine were studied. The biogenic NBD-amine derivatives could be quantitatively enriched in-line on 20 x 0.25 mm capillary columns packed in-house with 5 microm C(8) silica particles. In an electrospray ionization (ESI) source these derivatives were ionized effectively, and collision-induced dissociation (CID) produced predominant characteristic ions allowing sensitive MS/MS detection. Agmatine, a potential neurotransmitter/modulator, was taken as a reference compound to study the analytical figures of merit of the procedure. The detection limit of agmatine was estimated to be 0.6 ng/mL (signal-to-noise (S/N) = 3). A linear calibration curve in the range 15-1000 ng/mL agmatine with an r value of 0.9997 was obtained. Tissue samples of rat brain, stomach, and intestine were analyzed. Minimum sample pre-treatment was needed. Each analysis was accomplished within ca. 12 min. The concentration of agmatine was found to be 0.246, 3.31, and 0.058 microg/g wet tissue in the brain, stomach, and intestine, respectively.

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