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Molecules 2016, 21(10), 1298; doi:10.3390/molecules21101298

Identification of the Main Intermediate Precursor of l-Ergothioneine Biosynthesis in Human Biological Specimens

Department of Biomedical Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Sassari, Sassari 07100, Italy
Department of Clinical Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Flinders University and Flinders Medical Centre, Adelaide SA 5042, Australia
Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Qatar University, Doha 2713, Qatar
Quality Control Unit, University Hospital Sassari (AOU), Sassari 07100, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Derek J. McPhee
Received: 18 August 2016 / Revised: 10 September 2016 / Accepted: 23 September 2016 / Published: 28 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Metabolites)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [744 KB, uploaded 28 September 2016]   |  


A capillary electrophoresis coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (CE–MS/MS) has been used to make a qualitative determination of hercynine—the main precursor of l-ergothioneine biosynthesis—in some key human biological specimens, such as urine, whole blood, plasma, and saliva. From semiquantitative analysis results, the highest concentrations of hercynine were detected in saliva and whole blood, whereas much lower concentrations were measured in urine and plasma. Whole blood was the biological matrix with the highest concentration of l-ergothioneine followed by plasma, saliva, and urine. The antioxidant effects attributed to l-ergothioneine, along with its peculiar antioxidant mechanism, offer a possible explanation for the presence of the hercynine, as well as its concentration, in the considered biological matrices. View Full-Text
Keywords: aminothione; capillary electrophoresis; mass spectrometry; quaternary ammonium; dismutation aminothione; capillary electrophoresis; mass spectrometry; quaternary ammonium; dismutation

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Sotgia, S.; Mangoni, A.A.; Forteschi, M.; Murphy, R.B.; Elliot, D.; Sotgiu, E.; Pintus, G.; Carru, C.; Zinellu, A. Identification of the Main Intermediate Precursor of l-Ergothioneine Biosynthesis in Human Biological Specimens. Molecules 2016, 21, 1298.

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