An improved LC-MS/MS method for the quantification of prostaglandins E(2) and D(2) production in biological fluids

Anal Biochem. 2008 Jan 1;372(1):41-51. doi: 10.1016/j.ab.2007.08.041. Epub 2007 Sep 29.


We report an improved liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) assay that accurately measures prostaglandins D(2) (PGD(2)) and E(2) (PGE(2)) in cell culture supernatants and other biological fluids. The limit of detection for each prostaglandin was 20 pg/ml (0.20 pg, 0.55 fmol on-column), and the interday and intraday coefficients of variation were less than 5%. Both d(4)-PGE(2) and d(4)-PGD(2) were used as surrogate standards to control for differential loss and degradation of the analytes. Stability studies indicated that sample preparation time should be less than 8h to measure PGD(2) accurately, whereas preparation time did not affect PGE(2) measurement due to its greater stability in biological samples. As an application of the method, PGD(2) and PGE(2) were measured in culture supernatants from A549 cells and RAW 264.7 cells. The human lung alveolar cell line A549 was found to produce PGE(2) but no PGD(2), whereas the murine macrophage cell line RAW 264.7 produced PGD(2) and only trace amounts of PGE(2). This direct comparison showed that COX-2 gene expression can lead to differential production of PGD(2) and PGE(2) by epithelial cells and macrophages. Because PGE(2) is antiasthmatic and PGD(2) is proasthmatic, we speculate that the balance of production of these eicosanoids by epithelial cells and macrophages in the lung contributes to the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchiectasis, asthma, and lung cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods*
  • Dinoprostone / analysis*
  • Dinoprostone / biosynthesis
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Prostaglandin D2 / analysis*
  • Prostaglandin D2 / biosynthesis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization / methods*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods*


  • Dinoprostone
  • Prostaglandin D2