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Optimisation of the separation of four major neutral glycosphingolipids: application to a rapid and simple detection of urinary globotriaosylceramide in Fabry disease

Journal of Chromatography B
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.jchromb.2004.03.037
  • Glycosphingolipids
  • Globotriaosylceramide
  • Medicine


Abstract A simple method for the separation of the four major neutral glycosphingolipids, present in all human tissue, was developed. This gradient normal phase-HPLC method utilises a polyvinyl alcohol bonded stationary phase and an evaporative light-scattering detection (ELSD). Screening pure solvents in a binary gradient elution mode allowed, in a first step, to assess the behaviour of the studied solutes and to select the solvents for further mobile phase optimisation. The proportion of the remaining solvents was defined to reach a maximal resolution. The reduction of the analysis time and the enhancement of the signal were obtained by optimising the gradient slope and the flow-rate. Optimal levels of triethylamine and formic acid (TEA-FA) for the enhancement of the evaporative light scattering detector response were established at 0.1% (v/v). Thus, the optimal conditions for the separation of the four glycosphingolipids was obtained with a gradient elution from a 100% chloroform to a 100% acetone:methanol (90:10 (v/v)) mobile phase at 0.2 ml min −1, using a 10% min −1 gradient slope. Finally, this method was applied to detect the excess of one of the neutral sphingolipids, namely globotriaosylceramide (Gb 3) in the urine of patients affected with Fabry disease. A liquid–liquid extraction of the sediments obtained from an aliquot of only ten ml of urine proved sufficient to detect the excess of Gb 3 present in both hemizygote and heterozygote patients. In all, the ability of our method to detect abnormal amounts of Gb 3 in urinary sediments could allow the diagnosis of weakly symptomatic Fabry patients in large screening programs

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