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Simultaneous determination of metabolic and elemental markers in methamphetamine-induced hepatic injury to rats using LC-MS/MS and ICP-MS

  • Zhang, Yingyi1
  • Li, Liang2
  • Wang, Qi3
  • Shen, Mei1
  • Han, Weili1
  • Yang, Xuemei1
  • Chen, Lingyun1
  • Ma, Ande1
  • Zhou, Zhengzheng1
  • 1 Southern Medical University, Department of Hygiene Inspection and Quarantine Science, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Tropical Disease Research, School of Public Health, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510515, China , Guangzhou (China)
  • 2 Sun Yat-sen University, Department of Forensic Toxicological Analysis, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510080, China , Guangzhou (China)
  • 3 Southern Medical University, Department of Forensic Pathology, School of Forensic Medicine, Guangzhou, Guangdong, 510515, China , Guangzhou (China)
Published Article
Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Publication Date
May 22, 2019
DOI: 10.1007/s00216-019-01810-5
Springer Nature


Methamphetamine (METH) is one of the most highly addictive illicit drugs abused all over the world. Much evidence indicates that METH abuse leads to major toxicity, medical consequences, and even severe public health consequences. Existing studies usually focus on the pathomechanism of METH-induced toxicity; therefore, data on metabolites and elements correlating with particular toxicity remain scarce. The objective of the present study is to develop appropriate analytical procedures to identify the differential metabolic and elemental biomarkers on METH-induced hepatic injury to rats. The rats were administrated with METH (15 mg/mL/kg, two times per day) via intraperitoneal (i.p.) injections for four consecutive days. The alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase activity levels of in the rat serum of the METH group increase significantly compared with those of the control group, suggesting obvious hepatic injury. The results are further confirmed by the histopathological microscopic observation. A total of 18 small molecular metabolites and 19 elements are selected to perform the simultaneous quantification based on the combination of liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Sample preparation was optimized to cover all the analytes. Both methods are optimized and validated according to developed guidelines such as limits of detection, limits of quantification, linearity, precision, and recovery. All the obtained data are within the satisfactory range. The normalized data were processed according to the partial least squares discrimination analysis (PLS-DA) model. Five differential metabolic and six elemental markers are identified in rat plasma based on the variable importance in projection (VIP) (> 1) and t test results. Overall, the results obtained in this study demonstrate the developed methods are suitable for simultaneous determination of metabolic and elemental markers in the hepatic injury to rats induced by METH. Graphical abstract

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