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Keywords:

  • L-ergothioneine;
  • LC-MS/MS;
  • human;
  • plasma;
  • erythrocyte

A sensitive analytical method has been developed and validated for the quantification of L-ergothioneine in human plasma and erythrocytes by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. A commercially available isotope-labeled L-ergothioneine-d9 is used as the internal standard. A simple protein precipitation with acetonitrile is utilized for bio-sample preparation prior to analysis. Chromatographic separation of L-ergothioneine is conducted using gradient elution on Alltime C18 (150 mm × 2.1 mm, 5 µ). The run time is 6 min at a constant flow rate of 0.45 ml/min. The mass spectrometer is operated under a positive electrospray ionization condition with multiple reaction monitoring mode. The mass transitions of L-ergothioneine and L-ergothioneine-d9 are m/z 230 > 127 and m/z 239 > 127, respectively. Excellent linearity [coefficient of determination (r2) ≥ 0.9998] can be achieved for L-ergothioneine quantification at the ranges of 10 to 10 000 ng/ml, with the intra-day and inter-day precisions at 0.9–3.9% and 1.3–5.7%, respectively, and the accuracies for all quality control samples between 94.5 and 101.0%. This validated analytical method is suitable for pharmacokinetic monitoring of L-ergothioneine in human and erythrocytes. Based on the determination of bio-samples from five healthy subjects, the mean concentrations of L-ergothioneine in plasma and erythrocytes are 107.4 ± 20.5 ng/ml and 1285.0 ± 1363.0 ng/ml, respectively. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.