Quantitation of desmosine and isodesmosine in urine, plasma, and sputum by LC-MS/MS as biomarkers for elastin degradation

J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2011 Jul 1;879(21):1893-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jchromb.2011.05.011. Epub 2011 May 13.


The aim of this study is to develop a standardized LC-MS/MS method for accurate measurement of desmosine (DES) and isodesmosine (IDS) in all body fluids as biomarkers for in vivo degradation of matrix tissue elastin in man and animals. A reproducible three-step analytical procedure: (1) sample hydrolysis in 6N HCl, (2) SPE by a CF1 cartridge with addition of acetylated pyridinoline as internal standard (IS), and (3) LC/MSMS analysis by SRM monitoring of transition ions; DES or IDS (m/z 526-481+397) and IS (m/z 471-128) was developed. The method achieves accurate measurements of DES/IDS in accessible body fluids (i.e. urine, plasma, and sputum). LOQ of DES/IDS in body fluids is 0.1 ng/ml. The % recoveries and reproducibility from urine, plasma, and sputum samples are above 99 ± 8% (n = 3), 94 ± 9% (n = 3) and 87 ± 11% (n = 3), with imprecision 8%, 9% and 10%, respectively. The proposed method was applied to measure DES/IDS in body fluids of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and healthy controls. Total DES/IDS in sputum and plasma is increased over normal controls along with the free DES/IDS in urine in patients. DES/IDS can be used to study the course of COPD and the response to therapy. This practical and reliable LC-MS/MS method is proposed as a standardized method to measure DES and IDS in body fluids. This method can have wide application for investigating diseases which involve elastic tissue degradation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / chemistry
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods*
  • Desmosine / analysis*
  • Desmosine / blood
  • Desmosine / urine
  • Elastin / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hydrochloric Acid
  • Hydrolysis
  • Isodesmosine / analysis*
  • Isodesmosine / blood
  • Isodesmosine / urine
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / blood
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / urine
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sputum / chemistry*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods


  • Amino Acids
  • Biomarkers
  • Desmosine
  • pyridinoline
  • Elastin
  • Isodesmosine
  • Hydrochloric Acid