α-conotoxin GI, a short peptide toxin in the venom of Conus geographus
, is composed of 13 amino acids and two disulfide bonds. It is the most toxic component of Conus geographus
venom with estimated lethal doses of 0.029–0.038 mg/kg for humans. There is currently no reported analytical method for this toxin. In the present study, a sensitive detection method was developed to quantify GI in human plasma using a solid-phase extraction (SPE) column (polystyrene–divinyl benzene copolymer) combined with liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS/MS) in the multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) mode. The plasma samples were treated with a protein precipitating solvent (methanol: acetonitrile = 50:50, v
). GI in the solvent was efficiently extracted with an SPE column and was further separated by a Grace Alltima HP C18
(50 × 2.1 mm, 5 μm) column at a flow rate of 0.4 mL/min. Water (with 2% methanol) acetonitrile (with 0.1% acetic acid) was selected as the mobile phase combination used in a linear gradient system. α-Conotoxin GI was analyzed by an API 4000 triple quadrupole mass spectrometer. In the method validation, the linear calibration curve in the range of 2.0 to 300.0 ng/mL had correlation coefficients (r
) above 0.996. The recovery was 57.6–66.8% for GI and the internal standard. The lower limit of quantification (LLOQ) was 2 ng/mL. The intra- and inter-batch precisions were below 6.31% and 8.61%, respectively, and the accuracies were all within acceptance. GI was stable in a bench-top autosampler through long-term storage and freeze/thaw cycles. Therefore, this method is specific, sensitive and reliable for quantitative analysis of α-conotoxin GI in human plasma.
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