Two mass-spectrometric techniques for quantifying serine enantiomers and glycine in cerebrospinal fluid: potential confounders and age-dependent ranges


The recent discovery and specific functions of D-amino acids in humans are bound to lead to the revelation of D-amino acid abnormalities in human disorders. Therefore, high-throughput analysis techniques are warranted to determine D-amino acids in biological fluids in a routine laboratory setting.


We developed 2 chromatographic techniques, a nonchiral derivatization with chiral (chirasil-L-val column) separation in a GC-MS system and a chiral derivatization with Marfey's reagent and LC- MS analysis. We validated the techniques for D-serine, L-serine, and glycine determination in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), evaluated several confounders, and determined age-dependent human concentration ranges.


Quantification limits for D-serine, L-serine, and glycine in cerebrospinal fluid were 0.14, 0.44, and 0.14 micromol/L, respectively, for GC-MS and 0.20, 0.41, and 0.14 micromol/L for LC-MS. Within-run imprecision was <3% for both methods, and between-run imprecision was <13%. Comparison of both techniques with Deming regression yielded coefficients of 0.90 (D-serine), 0.92 (L-serine), and 0.96 (glycine). Sample collection, handling, and transport is uncomplicated-there is no rostrocaudal CSF gradient, no effect of storage at 4 degrees C for 1 week before storage at -80 degrees C, and no effect of up to 3 freeze/thaw cycles. Conversely, contamination with erythrocytes increased D-serine, L-serine, and glycine concentrations. CSF concentrations for 145 apparently healthy controls demonstrated markedly and specifically increased (5 to 9 times) D-serine concentrations during early central nervous system development.


These 2 clinically applicable analysis techniques will help to unravel pathophysiologic, diagnostic, and therapeutic issues for disorders associated with central nervous system abnormalities, NMDA-receptor dysfunction, and other pathology associated with D-amino acids

S.A. Fuchs, M.G. de Sain-van der Velden, M.M. de Barse, M.W. Roeleveld, M.M.W.B. Hendriks, L. Dorland, L.W. Klomp, R. Berger, T.J. de Koning
2008; 54 (9): 1443-1450
Published in: 
Clinical Chemistry
Date of publication: 
September, 2008
Status of the publication: