Quantification of desmosine and isodesmosine using MALDI-ion trap tandem mass spectrometry

Anal Bioanal Chem. 2018 Oct;410(26):6881-6889. doi: 10.1007/s00216-018-1288-z. Epub 2018 Jul 31.


Desmosine (Des) and isodesmosine (Isodes), cross-linking amino acids in the biomolecule elastin, may be used as biomarkers for various pathological conditions associated with elastin degradation. The current study presents a novel approach to quantify Des and Isodes using matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI)-tandem mass spectrometry (MS2) in a linear ion trap coupled to a vacuum MALDI source. MALDI-MS2 analyses of Des and Isodes are performed using stable-isotope-labeled desmosine d4 (labeled-Des) as an internal standard in different biological fluids, such as urine and serum. The method demonstrated linearity over two orders of magnitude with a detection limit of 0.02 ng/μL in both urine and serum without enrichment prior to mass spectrometry, and relative standard deviation of < 5%. The method is used to evaluate the time-dependent degradation of Des upon UV irradiation (254 nm) and found to be consistent with quantification by 1H NMR. This is the first characterized MALDI-MS2 method for quantification of Des and Isodes and illustrates the potential of MALDI-ion trap MS2 for effective quantification of biomolecules. The reported method represents improvement over current liquid chromatography-based methods with respect to analysis time and solvent consumption, while maintaining similar analytical characteristics. Graphical abstract ᅟ.

Keywords: Desmosine; Isodesmosine; MALDI-MS; NMR; Quantification; UV radiation.

MeSH terms

  • Desmosine / analysis*
  • Desmosine / blood
  • Desmosine / chemistry
  • Desmosine / urine
  • Humans
  • Limit of Detection
  • Reference Standards
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / methods*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods*


  • Desmosine