Evaluation of CE methods for global metabolic profiling of urine

Rawi Ramautar, Javier Sastre Toraño, Govert W Somsen, Gerhardus J de Jong
Electrophoresis 2010, 31 (14): 2319-27
In this study, the usefulness of noncovalently coated capillaries with layers of charged polymers is investigated to obtain global electrophoretic profiles of urinary metabolites covering a broad range of different compound classes in a highly repeatable way. Capillaries were coated with a bilayer of polybrene (PB) and poly(vinyl sulfonate) (PVS), or with a triple layer of PB, dextran sulfate (DS) and PB. The bilayer and triple layer coatings were evaluated at acidic (pH 2.0) and alkaline (pH 9.0) separation conditions, thereby providing separation conditions for basic and acidic compounds. A representative metabolite mixture and spiked urine samples were used for the evaluation of the four CE methods. Migration time repeatability (RSD<2%) and plate numbers (N, 100,000-400,000) were similar for the test compounds in all CE methods, except for some multivalent ions that may exhibit adsorption to oppositely charged coatings. The analysis of cationic compounds with the PB-DS-PB CE method at low pH (i.e. after the EOF time) provided a larger separation window and number of separated peaks in urine compared to the analysis with the PB-PVS CE method at low pH (i.e. before the EOF time). Approximately, 600 molecular features were detected in rat urine by the PB-DS-PB CE-MS method whereas about 300 features were found with the PB-PVS CE-MS method. This difference can be attributed to reduced comigration of compounds with the PB-DS-PB CE-MS method and a related decrease of ion suppression. With regard to the analysis of anionic compounds by CE-MS, in general analyte responses were significantly lower than that for cationic compounds, most probably due to less efficient ionization and to ion suppression effects caused by the background electrolyte. Hence, further optimization is required for the sensitive CE-MS analysis of anionic compounds in body fluids. It is concluded that the selection of a CE method for profiling of cationic metabolites in urine depends on the purpose of the study. For high-throughput analyses, the PB-PVS CE-MS method is favored whereas the PB-DS-PB CE-MS method provides a more information-rich metabolic profile, but at the cost of prolonged analysis time.

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