Rapid quantification of underivatized alloisoleucine and argininosuccinate using mixed-mode chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry

Chandler Griffin, Zineb Ammous, Gail Vance, Brett H. Graham, Marcus J. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Plasma elevations of the amino acids alloisoleucine and argininosuccinic acid (ASA) are pathognomonic for maple syrup urine disease and argininosuccinate lyase deficiency, respectively. Reliable detection of these biomarkers is typically achieved using methods with tedious sample preparations or long chromatographic separations, and many published amino acid assays report poor specificity and/or sensitivity for one or both of these compounds. This report describes a novel liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method that provides rapid quantification of alloisoleucine and ASA in human plasma. The basis of this method is a mixed-mode solid phase separation that achieves baseline resolution of alloisoleucine from isobaric interferents without the use of derivatization or ion pairing agents. The inject-to-inject time is 6 min including elution, column washing and re-equilibration. Validation studies demonstrate excellent limits of quantification (1 μmol/L), linearity (r = 0.999 from 1 to 250 μmol/L), accuracy (bias = −3.8% and −10.1%), and inter-assay imprecision (CV < 8.06%) for plasma analyses. Data from long-term clinical application confirms chromatographic consistency equivalent to more traditional reversed-phase or HILIC based columns. Additional matrix studies indicate low suppression (<10%) for a wide range of amino acids and compatibility with other matrixes such as blood spot analyses. Finally, analysis of our first 257 clinical specimens demonstrates high analytic specificity and sensitivity, allowing the detection of subtle but clinically relevant elevations of alloisoleucine and ASA that may be missed by other less sensitive methods. In conclusion, the novel LC-MS/MS method reported here overcomes a number of the challenges associated with alloisoleucine and ASA quantification. Combining this approach with published incomplete amino acid quantification methods allows, for the first time, a rapid and comprehensive LC-MS/MS analysis of underivatized amino acids without the use of ion pairing agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number121786
JournalJournal of Chromatography B: Analytical Technologies in the Biomedical and Life Sciences
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • Amino acid
  • Argininosuccinic aciduria
  • ASA
  • Intrada
  • L-Alloisoleucine
  • MSUD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Rapid quantification of underivatized alloisoleucine and argininosuccinate using mixed-mode chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this