Metabolic profiling of biological samples is increasingly used to obtain more insight into the pathophysiology of diseases. For translational studies, biological samples from animal models are explored; however, the volume of these samples can be a limiting factor for metabolic profiling studies. For instance, only a few microliters of urine is often available from small animals like mice. Hence, there is a need for a tailor-made analytical method for metabolic profiling of volume-limited samples. In the present study, the feasibility of capillary electrophoresis time-of-flight mass spectrometry (CE-ToF-MS) for metabolic profiling of urine from mice is evaluated. Special attention is paid to the analytical workflow; that is, such aspects as sample preparation, analysis, and data treatment are discussed from the metabolomics viewpoint. We show that metabolites belonging to several chemical families can be analyzed in mouse urine with the CE-ToF-MS method using minimal sample pretreatment and an in-capillary preconcentration procedure. This exemplifies the advantages of CE-ToF-MS for metabolic profiling of volume-limited samples as loss of material is minimized. The feasibility of the CE-ToF-MS-based workflow for metabolic profiling is illustrated by the analysis of urine samples from wild-type as well as from TTD mutant mice, which are a model for the accelerated aging, with osteoporosis being one of the main hallmarks.

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Keywords Capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry, Metabolic profiling, Mouse urine, Volume-limited samples
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Journal Journal of Proteome Research
Nevedomskaya, E, Ramautar, R, Derks, R, Westbroek, I, Zondag, G, van der Pluijm, I, … Mayboroda, O.A. (2010). CE-MS for metabolic profiling of volume-limited urine samples: Application to accelerated aging TTD mice. Journal of Proteome Research, 9(9), 4869–4874. doi:10.1021/pr100634d