Mass spectrometry based analysis of endogenous sterols and hormones

  • Datum:
  • Plats: B7:101a, BMC, Husargatan 3, Uppsala
  • Doktorand: de Kock, Neil
  • Om avhandlingen
  • Arrangör: Analytisk kemi
  • Kontaktperson: de Kock, Neil
  • Disputation

Bioanalytical applications using supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC) as analytical technique are of increasing interest. In essence, bioanalysis involves measurement of bioactive or endogenous compounds in biological matrices.

SFC has emerged as an excellent choice for bioanalytical analysis, attributable to its speed, selectivity and efficiency compared with high performance liquid chromatography. Moreover, coupling of SFC with mass spectrometry (MS) provides the additional benefits of specificity and sensitivity.

The aim of this thesis was to exploit these features by developing methods for the analysis of endogenous steroids, cholesterol oxidation products (COPs) and thyroid hormones (THs) by using ultra-performance supercritical fluid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (UPSFC–MS/MS) as analytical technique.

Endogenous steroids control many physiological processes, including reproduction, maturation, gene expression and neurological functions in humans and animals. In the first study, three steroids were measured in domesticated White Leghorn (WL) chickens and ancestral Red Junglefowl (RJF) birds. Restraining stress caused a significantly larger increase in corticosterone levels in RJF than in WL, indicating a blunted hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis activity in domesticated chickens. The second study was a continuation of the first study and corticosterone levels from the F12 generation of an intercross between WL and RJF birds were measured before and after physical restraint stress. The expression levels of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) in the hypothalamus and several genes in the adrenal glands were correlated with the post-stress levels of corticosterone in plasma. In the third study, the measurement of steroids was extended to assess more endogenous steroids from the four major classes, i.e. estrogens, androgens, progestogens and corticosterone.

Endogenous COPs are of interest in pathophysiology. COPs are more readily disposed by cells than cholesterol. Therefore, cholesterol is oxidised to the more polar COPs and are generally more bioactive than cholesterol. Moreover, if their production in cells and tissues and/or their introduction with dietary animal fat are excessive, COPs could indeed contribute to the pathogenesis of various disease processes. Fourteen COPs were included in the fourth study and a novel method for their separation was developed.

The last study in this thesis, involved the analysis of five THs. These hormones are vital for growth, developmental and metabolic processes of vertebrate life and play an important role in energy homeostasis. Measurements of circulating thyroid hormone levels are used in thyroid disorder diagnoses or treatment status monitoring. Two rapid methods for the separation of five THs were developed.

In summary, the work in this thesis demonstrates the applicability of UPSFC–MS/MS as an analytical technique in bioanalysis of endogenous compounds.