Serum γ-glutamyl di- and tripeptides have proven to be useful biomarkers to accurately predict nine different forms of liver disease. Using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) with multiple reaction monitoring (MRM), serum and liver samples spiked with γ-glutamyl peptide standards were analyzed to estimate accuracy. Unexpectedly, the recovery rates for several γ-glutamyl peptides in the serum samples were quite low, whereas values for some γ-glutamyl peptides in the liver samples were highly elevated. Most of these peptides were barely retained on the reverse-phase column, resulting in significant ion suppression or enhancement. In contrast, a capillary electrophoresis tandem mass spectrometry (CE-MS/MS) method with MRM was minimally affected by matrix effects. Of the 39 tested compounds, most of γ-glutamyl peptides that did not contain a thiol substituent in its structure gave acceptable recoveries (70-120%), and limits of detection for the analytes were between 3.6 and 800. nmol/l with pressure injection at 5. kPa for 10. s (ca. 10. nl). The CE-MS/MS method provided high resolution and proved to be highly selective and sensitive, its utility being demonstrated by the determination of γ-glutamyl di- and tripeptides in serum and liver samples.
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