Using improved HPLC analysis conditions, we report the separation of three isomers of mercapturic acid conjugates previously assigned in the literature only to 3-hydroxy-1-methylpropylmercapturic acid (HMPMA-1), a human urinary metabolite of crotonaldehyde. The new conditions, employing a biphenyl column cooled to 5 °C and eluted with a gradient of formic acid, acetonitrile, and methanol, allow the analysis of human urinary mercapturic acids derived not only from crotonaldehyde but also from its isomers methacrolein (3-hydroxy-2-methylpropyl mercapturic acid, HMPMA-2) and methyl vinyl ketone (3-hydroxy-3-methylpropyl mercapturic acid, HMPMA-3). The mercapturic acids were detected and quantified by LC-ESI-MS/MS using the corresponding stable isotope labeled mercapturic acids as internal standards. The analysis was validated for accuracy and precision and applied to urine samples collected from cigarette smokers and nonsmokers. Smokers had significantly higher levels of all three mercapturic acids than did nonsmokers. The results demonstrated that HMPMA-3 from methyl vinyl ketone comprised the major portion of the peaks previously ascribed in multiple studies to HMPMA-1. HMPMA-1 had concentrations intermediate between those of HMPMA-2 and HMPMA-3 in both smokers and nonsmokers. This study reports the first quantitation of HMPMA-2 and HMPMA-3 in human urine. The observation of higher levels of HMPMA-3 than in the other two mercapturic acids suggests a previously unrecognized potential significance of methyl vinyl ketone as a toxicant in smokers and nonsmokers.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The study was supported by grant no. CA-138338 from the U.S. National Cancer Institute and by National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Cooperative Agreement 1U2CES026533, Children’s Health Exposure Analysis Resource. Mass spectrometry was carried out in the Analytical Biochemistry Shared Resource of the Masonic Cancer Center, supported in part of Cancer Center Support Grant CA-077598.
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