Determination of vitamin B6 vitamers and pyridoxic acid in plasma: development and evaluation of a high-performance liquid chromatographic assay

Anal Biochem. 2002 Jun 1;305(1):82-9. doi: 10.1006/abio.2002.5638.


Marginal deficiency of vitamin B6 has recently been related to cardiovascular diseases. Because of that there is an increasing interest in a suitable and reliable method for quantifying this vitamin in routine laboratory medicine. We have developed a HPLC-based method able to quantify the B6 vitamers pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP), pyridoxal (PL), pyridoxamine 5'-phosphate (PMP), pyridoxine (PN), and pyridoxamine (PM) and the degradation product 4-pyridoxic acid (4-PA). The separation was accomplished using a C18 (ODS) analytical column and an ion-pair reversed-phase chromatography. B6 vitamers were eluted with a gradient of acetonitrile (0.5-15%) in a potassium phosphate buffer with 1-octanesulfonic acid and triethylamine, pH 2.16. The concentration of the vitamers was determined with fluorescence detector (328 nm excitation, 393 nm emission) after postcolumn derivatization with phosphate buffer containing 1 g/L sodium bisulfite. The performance of the assay was evaluated by analyzing six plasma samples with interrelated concentration and two control samples (unspiked and vitamer spiked) over a 3-months period. The HPLC method was able to identify PLP, 4-PA, PM, PL, PN, and PMP from all other compounds in plasma in an analytical run of 46 min. The imprecisions and mean values (presented in parenthesis in nmol/L) were (unspiked and spiked sample) 9-8% (41-65) for PLP, 12-7% (18-40) for 4-PA, 67-28% (4-19) for PL, 15% (21) for PN, 10% (27) for PM, and 27% (17) for PMP. All three B6 vitamers (PLP, 4-PA, and PL) present in unspiked plasma showed an excellent linearity within the range of (nM) 8-60 (4-PA), 1-19 (PL), and 11-99 (PLP). In conclusion, we report a HPLC-based method that separates and detects nanomolar quantities of six B6 vitamers and demonstrate that the method will be suitable for routine quantitation of PLP and 4-PA in human plasma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Calibration
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods*
  • Edetic Acid / blood
  • Fluorescent Dyes / analysis
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Pyridoxic Acid / blood*
  • Research Design / statistics & numerical data*
  • Time Factors
  • Vitamin B 6 / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin B 6 / blood*


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Pyridoxic Acid
  • Vitamin B 6
  • Edetic Acid