Profiling of pentose phosphate pathway intermediates in blood spots by tandem mass spectrometry: application to transaldolase deficiency

Clin Chem. 2003 Aug;49(8):1375-80. doi: 10.1373/49.8.1375.


Background: Recently, several patients with abnormal polyol profiles in body fluids have been reported, but the origins of these polyols are unknown. We hypothesized that they are derived from sugar phosphate intermediates of the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP), and we developed a semiquantitative method for profiling of pentose phosphate pathway intermediates.

Methods: Sugar phosphates in blood spots were simultaneously analyzed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry using an ion-pair-loaded C(18) HPLC column. The tandem mass spectrometer was operated in the multiple-reaction monitoring mode. Enzymatically prepared D-[(13)C(6)]glucose 6-phosphate was used as internal standard. The method was used to study sugar phosphates abnormalities in a patient affected with a deficiency of transaldolase (TALDO1; EC

Results: In control blood spots, dihydroxyacetone phosphate, pentulose 5-phosphates, pentose 5-phosphates, hexose 6-phosphates, and sedoheptulose 7-phosphate were detected. Detection limits ranged from approximately 100 to approximately 500 nmol/L. Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate and erythrose 4-phosphate were undetectable. Intra- and interassay imprecision (CVs) were 10-17% and 12-21%, respectively. In blood from the TALDO1-deficient patient, sedoheptulose 7-phosphate was increased.

Conclusions: The new method allows investigation of patients in whom a defect in the PPP is suspected. Measurements of sugar phosphate intermediates of the PPP may provide new insights into metabolic defects underlying the accumulating polyols.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Specimen Collection
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Fructosephosphates / blood
  • Glucose-6-Phosphate / blood
  • Glyceraldehyde 3-Phosphate / blood
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Middle Aged
  • Pentose Phosphate Pathway*
  • Pentosephosphates / blood
  • Ribosemonophosphates / blood
  • Ribulosephosphates / blood
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sugar Phosphates / blood
  • Transaldolase / deficiency*


  • Fructosephosphates
  • Pentosephosphates
  • Ribosemonophosphates
  • Ribulosephosphates
  • Sugar Phosphates
  • Glyceraldehyde 3-Phosphate
  • sedoheptulose 7-phosphate
  • ribulose 5-phosphate
  • ribose-5-phosphate
  • Glucose-6-Phosphate
  • erythrose 4-phosphate
  • xylulose-5-phosphate
  • fructose-6-phosphate
  • Transaldolase