Polyamine metabolites provide pathophysiological information on disease or therapeutic efficacy, yet rapid screening methods for these biomarkers are lacking. Here, we developed high-throughput polyamine metabolite profiling based on multisegment injection capillary electrophoresis triple quadrupole tandem mass spectrometry (MSI-CE-MS/MS), which allows sequential 40-sample injection followed by electrophoretic separation and specific mass detection. To achieve consecutive analysis of polyamine samples, 1 M formic acid was used as the background electrolyte (BGE). The BGE spacer volume had an apparent effect on peak resolution among samples, and 20 nL was selected as the optimal volume. The use of polyamine isotopomers as the internal standard enabled the correction of matrix effects in MS detection. This method is sensitive, selective and quantitative, and its utility was demonstrated by screening polyamines in 359 salivary samples within 360 min, resulting in discrimination of colorectal cancer patients from noncancer controls.
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