[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An automated high-throughput immunomagnetic separation (IMS) method for diagnosing exposure to the organophosphorus nerve agents (OPNAs) sarin (GB), cyclohexylsarin (GF), VX, and Russian VX (RVX) was developed to increase sample processing capacity for emergency response applications. Diagnosis of exposure to OPNAs was based on the formation of OPNA adducts to butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE). Data reported with this method represent a ratio of the agent-specific BuChE adduct concentration, relative to the total BuChE peptide concentration that provides a nonactivity measurement expressed as percent adducted. All magnetic bead transfer steps and washes were performed using instrumentation in a 96-well format allowing for simultaneous extraction of 86 clinical samples plus reference materials. Automating extractions increased sample throughput 50-fold, as compared to a previously reported manual method. The limits of detection, determined using synthetic peptides, were 1 ng/mL for unadducted BuChE and GB-, GF-, VX-, and RVX-adducted BuChE. The automated method was characterized using unexposed serum and serum pools exposed to GB, GF, VX, or RVX. Variation for the measurement of percent adducted was <12% for all characterized quality control serum pools. Twenty-six (26) serum samples from individuals asymptomatic for cholinesterase inhibitor exposure were analyzed using this method, and no background levels of OPNA exposure were observed. Unexposed BuChE serum concentrations measured using this method ranged from 2.8 μg/mL to 10.6 μg/mL, with an average concentration of 6.4 μg/mL.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A novel method for extracting butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE) from serum as a means of identifying and measuring nerve agent adducts to human BuChE is presented here. Antibutyrylcholinesterase monoclonal antibodies were conjugated to protein-G ferromagnetic particles and mixed with 500 microL serum samples. The particle-antibody-BuChE product was rinsed and directly digested with pepsin. Native and isotopically enriched nonapeptides corresponding to the pepsin digest products for uninhibited BuChE, and sarin, cyclohexylsarin, VX, and Russian VX nerve agent-inhibited BuChE were synthesized for use as calibrators and internal standards, respectively. Internal standards were added to the filtered digest sample, and the samples were quantified via high performance liquid chromatography-isotope dilution-tandem mass spectrometry. The ratio of adducted to total BuChE nonapeptides was calculated for each nerve agent-exposed serum sample using data collected in a single chromatogram. Nerve agent-inhibited quality control serum pools were characterized as part of method validation; the method was observed to have extremely low background noise. The measurement of both uninhibited and inhibited BuChE peptides compensated for any variations in the pepsin digestion before the internal standard peptide was added to the sample and may prove useful in individualizing patient results following a nerve agent exposure.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Abrin is a toxic protein found in the jequirity seed. L-Abrine (N-methyl-tryptophan) is also found in the jequirity seed and can be used as a biomarker for abrin exposure. Analysis of L-abrine was added to an existing method for quantifying ricinine as a marker for ricin exposure in human urine and analytically validated. Accuracy and reproducibility were enhanced by including a newly synthesized (13)C(1)(2)H(3)-L-abrine internal standard. One-milliliter urine samples were processed using solid-phase extraction prior to a 6-min high-performance liquid chromatography separation. Protonated molecular ions were formed via electrospray ionization in a triple-quadrupole mass spectrometer and quantified via multiple reaction monitoring. Method validation included the characterization of two enriched urine pools, which were used as quality control materials. Endogenous levels of L-abrine were quantified in a reference range of 113 random urine samples at 0.72 +/- 0.51 ng/mL. Urinary concentrations of L-abrine were monitored in an intentional rat exposure study for up to 48 h. Comparing the results from the human reference range and the animal exposure study indicates that this method is suitable for quantifying L-abrine within 24 h post-exposure. Quantification of L-abrine beyond 24 h is limited by rapid excretion of the biomarker and the level of the L-abrine dose.
Journal of analytical toxicology 04/2009; 33(2):77-84. · 2.11 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bis(2-hydroxyethylthio)alkanes and bis(2-hydroxyethylthioalkyl)ethers are important biological and environmental degradation products of sulfur mustard analogs known as sesqui- and oxy-mustards. We used atmospheric pressure chemical ionization mass spectrometry (APCI MS) to acquire characteristic spectra of these compounds in positive and negative ionization modes. Positive APCI mass spectra exhibited [M + H](+); negative APCI MS generated [M + O(2)](-), [M - H](-), and [M - 3H](-); and both positive and negative APCI mass spectra contained fragment ions due to in-source collision-induced dissociation. Product ion scans confirmed the origin of fragment ions observed in single-stage MS. Although the spectra of these compounds were very similar, positive and negative APCI mass spectra of the oxy-mustard hydrolysis product, bis(2-hydroxyethylthiomethyl)ether, differed from the spectra of the other compounds in a manner that suggested a rearrangement to the sesqui-mustard hydrolysis product, bis(2-hydroxyethylthio)methane. We evaluated the [M + O(2)](-) adduct ion for quantification via liquid chromatography-MS/MS in the multiple-reaction monitoring (MRM) mode by constructing calibration curves from three precursor/product ion transitions for all the analytes. Analytical figures of merit generated from the calibration curves indicated the stability and suitability of these transitions for quantification at concentrations in the low ng/mL range. Thus, we are the first to propose a quantitative method predicated on the measurement of product ions generated from the superoxide adduct anion of the sesqui-and oxy-mustard hydrolysis products.
Journal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry 09/2007; 18(8):1364-74. · 3.59 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ricin is a toxalbumin derived from the castor bean plant, Ricinus communis. Ricinine is an alkaloid (3-cyano-4-methoxy-N-methyl-2-pyridone) that shares a common plant source with ricin, and its presence in urine infers ricin exposure. A new quantification method for ricinine was developed that uses solid-phase extraction to prepare 1-mL urine samples (81% recovery) for a 5-min, isocratic high-performance liquid chromatography method, followed by electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry. Protonated molecular ions were selected in the multiple reaction monitoring mode and quantified by isotope dilution with (13)C(6)-labelled ricinine as the internal reference. Urine pools enriched with ricinine at two concentrations were characterized as quality control materials and then used to validate the method. The method limit of quantification was 0.083 ng/mL, even with a confirmation ion of low relative abundance. Ricinine was stable in human urine when heated at 90 degrees C for 1 h, and during storage at 25 degrees C and 5 degrees C for 3 weeks. The method was applied to an animal exposure study, a crude ricin preparation scheme, and a forensic analysis. These studies show that ricinine can be measured in rat urine at least 48 h after exposure. Ricinine is present in crude preparations of ricin, and it can be found in human urine after a lethal exposure to ricin.
Journal of analytical toxicology 05/2005; 29(3):149-55. · 2.11 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in whole human blood at the low parts-per-trillion level has until recently required the use of a high-resolution mass spectrometer to obtain the specificity and detection limits required for epidemiological studies of VOC exposure in the general public. Because of the expense and expertise required to operate and maintain a high-resolution instrument, the applicability of this method has been limited. These limitations are overcome in a new method using automated headspace solid-phase microextraction (SPME) in conjunction with a gas chromatograph and a benchtop quadrupole mass spectrometer. A combination of SPME and multiple single-ion monitoring minimizes the interferences and chemical noise associated with whole blood samples. This method permits the analysis of 10 VOCs in human blood while simplifying the sample preparation and reducing the possible exposure of the analyst to blood aerosols. Twelve samples can be run successively in a fully automated mode, thus eliminating the need for operator attention. Detection limits are below 50 ppt (pg/mL) for a majority of the VOCs tested with a 5-mL sample.
Journal of chromatographic science 03/2000; 38(2):49-54. · 0.79 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nitrogen mustards are a public health concern because of their extreme vesicant properties and the possible exposure of workers during the destruction of chemical stockpiles. A sensitive, rapid, accurate, and precise analysis for the quantitation of ultratrace levels of N-ethyldiethanolamine (EDEA) and N-methyldiethanolamine (MDEA) in human urine as a means of assessing recent exposure to the nitrogen mustards bis(2-chloroethyl)ethylamine and bis(2-chloroethyl)methylamine, respectively, was developed. The method was based on solid-phase extraction, followed by analysis of the urine extract using isotope-dilution high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry with TurbolonSpray ionization and multiple-reaction monitoring. The method limits of detection were 0.41 ng/mL for EDEA and 0.96 ng/mL for MDEA in 1 mL of urine with coefficients of variation < 10% for both compounds.
Journal of analytical toxicology 27(1):1-6. · 2.11 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sesqui- and oxy-mustards pose a significant threat to military forces and civilians because they are potent vesicants. We have developed an isotope-dilution high-performance liquid chromatography-atmospheric pressure chemical ionization-tandem mass spectrometry method utilizing negative ion multiple reaction monitoring for the analysis of sesqui-mustard metabolites bis(2-hydroxyethylthio)alkanes (n = 1-5) and oxy-mustard metabolite bis(2-hydroxyethylthioethyl)ether in human urine. Relative standard deviations were < 10% and the reportable limits of detection were 1 ng/mL in 0.5 mL of urine. We applied this method to 100 samples collected from individuals with no known exposure to sesqui- or oxy-mustards, and no urines showed detectable levels of any of the analytes, suggesting that these metabolites may be used for monitoring exposure to sesqui- and oxy-mustards.
Journal of analytical toxicology 32(1):44-50. · 2.11 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The nitrogen mustards bis(2-chloroethyl)ethylamine (HN1), bis(2-chloroethyl)methylamine (HN2), and tris(2-chloroethyl)amine (HN3) have the potential to be used as chemical terrorism agents because of their extreme vesicant properties. We modified a previously reported method to incorporate automated solid-phase extraction, improve chromatography, and include the urinary metabolite for HN3. The improved method was used to measure levels of the urinary metabolites N-ethyldiethanolamine (EDEA), N-methyldiethanolamine (MDEA), and triethanolamine (TEA) in rats dosed with HN1, HN2, and HN3, respectively, and to establish background levels of EDEA, MDEA, and TEA in human urine samples from a population with no known exposure to nitrogen mustards. Rat dosing experiments confirmed that EDEA, MDEA, and TEA could be detected in urine for at least 48 h after exposure to HN1, HN2, and HN3, respectively. Substantial amounts of EDEA (89 ng/mL), MDEA (170 ng/mL), and TEA (1105 ng/mL) were measured in the urine of rats exposed to 10 mg HN1, HN2, and HN3, respectively, 48 h after exposure. The background concentrations for TEA in the human population ranged from below the limit of detection (LOD 3 ng/mL) to approximately 6500 ng/mL. Neither EDEA (LOD 0.4 ng/mL) nor MDEA (LOD 0.8 ng/mL) was detected above the LOD in the human samples.
Journal of analytical toxicology 28(5):320-6. · 2.11 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In July 2004, two individuals developed blisters after the destruction of a WWI-era munition. To determine the causative agent, urine samples were collected from both the highly blistered patient (patient 1; 6.5% of total body surface area) and patient 2, who had only one small blister. Their urine was analyzed for metabolites of known vesicants including sulfur mustard (HD), Lewisite (L1), and nitrogen mustards. The urine samples only tested positive for metabolites of HD. Additional metabolites were measured to confirm the exposure of sulfur mustard agent HD, including thiodiglycol (TDG), TDG-sulfoxide, and the bis-mercapturate of mustard sulfone. On day 2 after the exposure, patient 1 had a beta-lyase metabolite level of 41 ng/mL, and patient 2 had a level of 2.6 ng/mL. Detectable levels of the beta-lyase metabolite were observed in patient 1 for 11 days and in patient 2 for 7 days. Levels of TDG and both TDG and its sulfoxide measured together in the urine of patient 1 were found to be 24 ng/mL and 50 ng/mL, respectively, on day 2. The bis-mercapturate of mustard sulfone was detected in patient 1 (3.1 ng/mL) on day 2 but was not detected in samples taken on subsequent days.
Journal of analytical toxicology 32(1):10-6. · 2.11 Impact Factor