A LC-MS/MS method for the analysis of intracellular nucleoside triphosphate levels

Ping Chen, Zhongfa Liu, Shujun Liu, Zhiliang Xie, Josephine Aimiuwu, Jiuxia Pang, Rebecca Klisovic, William Blum, Michael R. Grever, Guido Marcucci, Kenneth K. Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Purpose: To simultaneously quantify intracellular nucleoside triphosphate (NTP) and deoxynucleoside triphosphate (dNTP) pools and to assess their changes produced by interfering with ribonucleotide reductase (RNR) expression in leukemia cells. Methods: A HPLC-MS/MS system was used to quantify intracellular NTP and dNTP pools. Results: The assay was linear between 50 nM, the lower limit of quantification (LLOQ), and 10 μM in cell lysate. The within-day coefficients of variation (CVs, n∈=∈5) were found to be 12.0-18.0% at the LLOQ and 3.0-9.0% between 500 and 5,000 nM for dNTPs and 8.0-15.0% and 2.0-6.0% for NTPs. The between-day CVs (n∈=∈5) were 9.0-13.0% and 3.0-11.0% for dNTPs and 9.0-13.0% and 3.0-6.0% for NTPs. The within-day accuracy values were 93.0-119.0% for both NTPs and dNTPs. ATP overlapped with dGTP and they were analyzed as a composite. This method was applied to measure basal intracellular dNTPs/NTPs in five leukemia cell lines exposed to the RNR antisense GTI-2040. Following drug treatment, dCTP and dATP levels were found to decrease significantly in MV4-11 and K562 cells. Additionally, perturbation of dNTP/NTP levels in bone marrow sample of a patient treated with GTI-2040 was detected. Conclusions: This method provides a practical tool to measure intracellular dNTP/NTP levels in cells and clinical samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1504-1515
Number of pages12
JournalPharmaceutical research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by the National Cancer Research Institute, Bethesda, MD, RO1 CA102031 (P.I. GM) and by the Biomedical Mass Spectrometry Laboratory, The Ohio State University.


  • DNTP/NTP levels
  • GTI-2040
  • LC-MS/MS


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