Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Chair of Metabolic Biochemistry

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Comparison of strategies for the determination of sterol sulfates via GC-MS leading to a novel deconjugation-derivatization protocol

Molecules. 2019 Jun 26;24(13):2353

Authors/Editors: Junker J
Chong I
Kamp F
Steiner H
Giera M
Müller C
Bracher F
Publication Date: 2019
Type of Publication: Journal Article

Sulfoconjugates of sterols play important roles as neurosteroids, neurotransmitters, and ion channel ligands in health and disease. In most cases, sterol conjugate analysis is performed with liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. This is a valuable tool for routine analytics with the advantage of direct sterol sulfates analysis without previous cleavage and/or derivatization. The complementary technique gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is a preeminent discovery tool in the field of sterolomics, but the analysis of sterol sulfates is hampered by mandatory deconjugation and derivatization. Despite the difficulties in sample workup, GC-MS is an indispensable tool for untargeted analysis and steroid profiling. There are no general sample preparation protocols for sterol sulfate analysis using GC-MS. In this study we present a reinvestigation and evaluation of different deconjugation and derivatization procedures with a set of representative sterol sulfates. The advantages and disadvantages of trimethylsilyl (TMS), methyloxime-trimethylsilyl (MO-TMS), and trifluoroacetyl (TFA) derivatives were examined. Different published procedures of sterol sulfate deconjugation, including enzymatic and chemical cleavage, were reinvestigated and examined for diverse sterol sulfates. Finally, we present a new protocol for the chemical cleavage of sterol sulfates, allowing for simultaneous deconjugation and derivatization, simplifying GC-MS based sterol sulfate analysis.

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