Accurate measurement of the essential micronutrients methionine, homocysteine, vitamins B6, B12, B9 and their metabolites in plasma, brain and maternal milk of mice using LC/MS ion trap analysis

J.E. Oosterink, E.F.G. Naninck, A. Korosi, P.J. Lucassen, J.B. van Goudoever, H. Schierbeek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Methionine, homocysteine, vitamins B6, B12, B9, and their metabolites are crucial co-factors and substrates for many basic biological pathways including one-carbon metabolism, and they are particularly important for brain function and development and epigenetic mechanisms. These are essential nutrients that cannot be synthesized endogenously and thus need to be taken in via diet. A novel method was developed that enables simultaneous assessment of the exact concentrations of these essential micronutrients in various matrices, including maternal milk, plasma, and brain of neonatal mice. The protocol for analysis of these components in the various matrices consists of a cleanup step (i.e. lipid extraction followed by protein precipitation) combined with a liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC/MS) ion trap method with high sensitivity and selectivity (SRM mode). This novel method enables the measurement of these essential nutrients with good recoveries (69-117%), and high intra-day (<10%) and high intra-day precision (defined as <15% for compounds with an isotopologue and <20% for compounds without an isotopologue as internal standard) in plasma, maternal milk, and brain of mice at low and high levels. In addition, lower limits of quantitation (LOQ) were determined for the various matrices in the range for methionine (700-2000nmol/L), homocysteine (280-460-nmol/L), vitamins B6 (5-230nmol/L), B12 (7-11nmol/L), B9 (20-30nmol/L). Degradation of vitamins and oxidation of homocysteine is limited to a minimum, and only small sample volumes (30μL plasma, 20mg brain and maternal milk) are needed for simultaneous measurement. This method can help to understand how these nutrients are transferred from mother to offspring via maternal milk, as well as how these nutrients are absorbed by the offspring and eventually taken up in various tissues amongst the brain in preclinical and clinical research settings. Therefore the method can help to explore critical periods in lactating mothers and developing offspring.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-113
JournalJournal of Chromatography B
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2015

Cite this