Detection and quantification of beta-2-microglobulin using mass spectrometric immunoassay

Anal Biochem. 2001 Feb 1;289(1):26-35. doi: 10.1006/abio.2000.4921.


The use of mass spectrometric immunoassay (MSIA) in analyzing beta-2-microglobulin (beta(2)m) present in human biological fluids (tears, saliva, plasma, and urine) is described. Pipettor tips containing porous affinity frits, derivatized with polyclonal anti-beta(2)m immunoglobulin, were manufactured and used to selectively isolate and concentrate beta(2)m from the biofluids, after which matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry was used to detect beta(2)m unambiguously at its characteristic molecular mass. The affinity tips were found rapid to use, requiring approximately 15 min per analysis, and exhibited low nonspecific binding properties that yielded essentially interference-free analyses. The beta(2)m MSIA was made quantitative by inclusion of an internal standard into the analysis for signal normalization. The resulting assay had a Linear dynamic range (R(2) = 0.983) covering a beta(2)m concentration range of 0.010-1.0 mg/L with a standard error of approximately 5%. In application, urine samples from healthy individuals were screened and compared with sample from an individual suffering from renal infection. Results indicated an approximately 30-fold increase in beta(2)m levels in samples taken from the infected individual. During the screening, MSIA was able to distinguish between wild-type and glycosylated forms of beta(2)m, which made possible the accurate quantification of wild-type beta(2)m without interference from glycosylated versions of the protein. These results demonstrate a new approach to the rapid and accurate detection/quantification of beta(2)m present in biological fluids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Fluids / chemistry
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay / methods*
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Pregnancy
  • Urinary Tract Infections / metabolism
  • beta 2-Microglobulin / analysis*
  • beta 2-Microglobulin / metabolism


  • beta 2-Microglobulin