Monoacylglycerol Analysis Using MS/MS(ALL) Quadruple Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry

Metabolites. 2016 Aug 17;6(3):25. doi: 10.3390/metabo6030025.


Monoacylglycerols (MAGs) are structural and bioactive metabolites critical for biological function. Development of facile tools for measuring MAG are essential to understand its role in different diseases and various pathways. A data-independent acquisition method, MS/MS(ALL), using electrospray ionization (ESI) coupled quadrupole time of flight mass spectrometry (MS), was utilized for the structural identification and quantitative analysis of individual MAG molecular species. Compared with other acylglycerols, diacylglycerols (DAG) and triacylglycerols (TAG), MAG characteristically presented as a dominant protonated ion, [M + H]⁺, and under low collision energy as fatty acid-like fragments due to the neutral loss of the glycerol head group. At low concentrations (<10 pmol/µL), where lipid-lipid interactions are rare, there was a strong linear correlation between ion abundance and MAG concentration. Moreover, using the MS/MS(ALL) method the major MAG species from human plasma and mouse brown and white adipose tissues were quantified in less than 6 min. Collectively, these results demonstrate that MS/MS(ALL) analysis of MAG is an enabling strategy for the direct identification and quantitative analysis of low level MAG species from biological samples with high throughput and sensitivity.

Keywords: MS/MSALL; QTOF; acylglycerols; mass spectrometry; monoacyglycerols.