Quantitative Profiling of Bile Acids in Biofluids and Tissues Based on Accurate Mass High Resolution LC-FT-MS: Compound Class Targeting in a Metabolomics Workflow

J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2008 Aug 15;871(2):306-13. doi: 10.1016/j.jchromb.2008.05.008. Epub 2008 May 15.


We report a sensitive, generic method for quantitative profiling of bile acids and other endogenous metabolites in small quantities of various biological fluids and tissues. The method is based on a straightforward sample preparation, separation by reversed-phase high performance liquid-chromatography mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS) and electrospray ionisation in the negative ionisation mode (ESI-). Detection is performed in full scan using the linear ion trap Fourier transform mass spectrometer (LTQ-FTMS) generating data for many (endogenous) metabolites, not only bile acids. A validation of the method in urine, plasma and liver was performed for 17 bile acids including their taurine, sulfate and glycine conjugates. The method is linear in the 0.01-1 microM range. The accuracy in human plasma ranges from 74 to 113%, in human urine 77 to 104% and in mouse liver 79 to 140%. The precision ranges from 2 to 20% for pooled samples even in studies with large number of samples (n>250). The method was successfully applied to a multi-compartmental APOE*3-Leiden mouse study, the main goal of which was to analyze the effect of increasing dietary cholesterol concentrations on hepatic cholesterol homeostasis and bile acid synthesis. Serum and liver samples from different treatment groups were profiled with the new method. Statistically significant differences between the diet groups were observed regarding total as well as individual bile acid concentrations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bile Acids and Salts / analysis*
  • Bile Acids and Salts / blood
  • Bile Acids and Salts / urine
  • Cholesterol, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Cholesterol, Dietary / pharmacology
  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods*
  • Computational Biology / methods*
  • Fourier Analysis
  • Humans
  • Liver / chemistry
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Reproducibility of Results


  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Cholesterol, Dietary