Profiling and relative quantification of phosphatidylethanolamine based on acetone stable isotope derivatization

Xiang Wang, Fang Wei, Ji qu Xu, Xin Lv, Xu yan Dong, Xianlin Han, Siew young Quek, Feng hong Huang, Hong Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) is considered to be one of the pivotal lipids for normal cellular function as well as disease initiation and progression. In this study, a simple, efficient, reliable, and inexpensive method for the qualitative analysis and relative quantification of PE, based on acetone stable isotope derivatization combined with double neutral loss scan-shotgun electrospray ionization tandem-quadrupole mass spectrometry analysis (ASID-DNLS-Shotgun ESI-MS/MS), was developed. The ASID method led to alkylation of the primary amino groups of PE with an isopropyl moiety. The use of acetone (d0-acetone) and deuterium-labeled acetone (d6-acetone) introduced a 6 Da mass shift that was ideally suited for relative quantitative analysis, and enhanced sensitivity for mass analysis. The DNLS model was introduced to simultaneously analyze the differential derivatized PEs by shotgun ESI-MS/MS with high selectivity and accuracy. The reaction specificity, labeling efficiency, and linearity of the ASID method were thoroughly evaluated in this study. Its excellent applicability was validated by qualitative and relative quantitative analysis of PE species presented in liver samples from rats fed different diets. Using the ASID-DNLS-Shotgun ESI-MS/MS method, 45 PE species from rat livers have been identified and quantified in an efficient manner. The level of total PEs tended to decrease in the livers of rats on high fat diets compared with controls. The levels of PE 32:1, 34:3, 34:2, 36:3, 36:2, 42:10, plasmalogen PE 36:1 and lyso PE 22:6 were significantly reduced, while levels of PE 36:1 and lyso PE 16:0 increased.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-153
Number of pages12
JournalAnalytica Chimica Acta
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Acetone stable isotope derivatization
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Phosphatidylethanolamine
  • Relative quantification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy


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