A gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) method for measuring very low levels of enrichment of d5-phenylalanine (0.002-0.09 atom percent excess) is described. This method makes it possible to determine the enrichment of amino acid incorporated into tissue protein during studies of protein synthesis in man. Phenylalanine is enzymatically converted to phenylethylamine and the d5-enrichment is measured in the heptafluorobutyryl derivative by selective-ion recording under electron ionization conditions. The coefficients of variation for muscle-protein hydrolysate samples enriched with d5-phenylalanine at the 0.005 and 0.05 atom percent excess levels were 6.0 and 1.2%, respectively. This precision at low enrichment and the small amount of protein needed (about 1 mg) provide real advantages for clinical studies of tissue protein synthesis. Moreover, in contrast to the conventional approach which uses GC/MS for plasma amino acids (typically 2-20 atom percent excess) but gas isotope-ratio mass spectrometry for protein-bound amino acids, the enrichment of both plasma-free and protein-bound d5-phenylalanine can be measured with a single instrument.
- Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
- Muscle Proteins