An UHPLC-MS/MS method for simultaneous quantification of human amyloid beta peptides Aβ1-38, Aβ1-40 and Aβ1-42 in cerebrospinal fluid using micro-elution solid phase extraction

J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci. 2017 Dec 1;1070:82-91. doi: 10.1016/j.jchromb.2017.10.047. Epub 2017 Oct 23.


Amyloid beta (Aβ) peptides in cerebrospinal fluid are extensively estimated for identification of Alzheimer's disease (AD) as diagnostic biomarkers. Unfortunately, their pervasive application is hampered by interference from Aβ propensity of self-aggregation, nonspecifically bind to surfaces and matrix proteins, and by lack of quantitive standardization. Here we report on an alternative Ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS/MS) method for simultaneous measurement of human amyloid beta peptides Aβ1-38, Aβ1-40 and Aβ1-42 in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) using micro-elution solid phase extraction (SPE). Samples were pre-processing by the mixed-mode micro-elution solid phase extraction and quantification was performed in the positive ion multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) mode using electrospray ionization. The stable-isotope labeled Aβ peptides 15N51- Aβ1-38, 15N53- Aβ1-40 and 15N55- Aβ1-42 peptides were used as internal standards. And the artificial cerebrospinal fluid (ACSF) containing 5% rat plasma was used as a surrogate matrix for calibration curves. The quality control (QC) samples at 0.25, 2 and 15ng/mL were prepared. A "linear" regression (1/x2 weighting): y=ax+b was used to fit the calibration curves over the concentration range of 0.1-20ng/mL for all three peptides. Coefficient of variation (CV) of intra-batch and inter-batch assays were all less than 6.44% for Aβ1-38, 6.75% for Aβ1-40 and 10.74% for Aβ1-42. The precision values for all QC samples of three analytes met the acceptance criteria. Extract recoveries of Aβ1-38, Aβ1-40 and Aβ1-42 were all greater than 70.78%, both in low and high QC samples. The stability assessments showed that QC samples at both low and high levels could be stable for at least 24h at 4°C, 4h at room temperature and through three freeze-thaw cycles without sacrificing accuracy or precision. And no significant carryover effect was observed. This validated UHPLC/MS/MS method was successfully applied to the quantitation of Aβ peptides in real human CSF samples. Our work may provide a reference method for simultaneous quantitation of human Aβ1-38, Aβ1-40 and Aβ1-42 from CSF.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Amyloid β Peptide; Human cerebrospinal fluid; Simultaneous quantification; UHPLC–MS/MS.

MeSH terms

  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods*
  • Humans
  • Limit of Detection
  • Linear Models
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Solid Phase Microextraction / methods*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods*


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides