Surfactant-aided precipitation/on-pellet-digestion (SOD) procedure provides robust and rapid sample preparation for reproducible, accurate and sensitive LC/MS quantification of therapeutic protein in plasma and tissues

Anal Chem. 2015 Apr 7;87(7):4023-9. doi: 10.1021/acs.analchem.5b00350. Epub 2015 Mar 18.


For targeted protein quantification by liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC/MS), an optimal approach for efficient, robust and hi-throughput sample preparation is critical, but often remains elusive. Here we describe a straightforward surfactant-aided-precipitation/on-pellet-digestion (SOD) strategy that provides effective sample cleanup and enables high and constant peptide yields in various matrices, allowing reproducible, accurate and sensitive protein quantification. This strategy was developed using quantification of monocolnocal antibody in tissues and plasma as the model system. Surfactant treatment before precipitation substantially increased peptide recovery and reproducibility from plasma/tissue, likely because surfactant permits extensive denaturation/reduction/alkylation of proteins and inactivation of endogenous protease inhibitors, and facilitates removal of matrix components. The subsequent precipitation procedure effectively eliminates the surfactant and nonprotein matrix components, and the thorough denaturation by both surfactant and precipitation enabled very rapid on-pellet-digestion (45 min at 37 °C) with high peptide recovery. The performance of SOD was systematically compared against in-solution-digestion, in-gel-digestion and filter-aided-sample-preparation (FASP) in plasma/tissues, and then examined in a full pharmacokinetic study in rats. SOD achieved the best peptide recovery (∼21.0-700% higher than the other three methods across various matrices), reproducibility (3.75-10.9%) and sensitivity (28-30 ng/g across plasma and tissue matrices), and its performance was independent of matrix types. Finally, in validation and pharmacokinetic studies in rats, SOD outperformed other methods and provided highly accurate and precise quantification in all plasma samples without using stable isotope labeled (SIL)-protein internal standard (I.S.). In summary, the SOD method has proven to be highly robust, efficient and rapid, making it readily adaptable to large-scale clinical and pharmaceutical quantification of biomarkers or biotherapeutics.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacokinetics
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry*
  • Proteins / analysis*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Surface-Active Agents / chemistry*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Proteins
  • Surface-Active Agents