Simultaneous LC/MS/MS quantification of eight apolipoproteins in normal and hypercholesterolemic mouse plasma

J Lipid Res. 2019 Apr;60(4):900-908. doi: 10.1194/jlr.D084301. Epub 2019 Feb 5.


Apolipoproteins are major structural and functional constituents of lipoprotein particles. As modulators of lipid metabolism, adipose tissue biology, and energy homeostasis, apolipoproteins may serve as biomarkers or potential therapeutic targets for cardiometabolic diseases. Mice are the preferred model to study metabolic disease and CVD, but a comprehensive method to quantify circulating apolipoproteins in mice is lacking. We developed and validated a targeted proteomics assay to quantify eight apolipoproteins in mice via proteotypic signature peptides and corresponding stable isotope-labeled analogs. The LC/MS/MS method requires only a 3 µl sample volume to simultaneously determine mouse apoA-I, apoA-II, apoA-IV, apoB-100, total apoB, apoC-I, apoE, and apoJ concentrations. ApoB-48 concentrations can be calculated by subtracting apoB-100 from total apoB. After we established the analytic performance (sensitivity, linearity, and imprecision) and compared results for selected apolipoproteins against immunoassays, we applied the method to profile apolipoprotein levels in plasma and isolated HDL from normocholesterolemic C57BL/6 mice and from hypercholesterolemic Ldl-receptor- and Apoe-deficient mice. In conclusion, we present a robust, quantitative LC/MS/MS method for the multiplexed analysis of eight apolipoproteins in mice. This assay can be applied to investigate the effects of genetic manipulation or dietary interventions on apolipoprotein levels in plasma and isolated lipoprotein fractions.

Keywords: animal models; lipoproteins; liquid chromatography; mass spectrometry; proteomics; quantitation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apolipoproteins / blood*
  • Calibration
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Hypercholesterolemia / blood*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Apolipoproteins