Second-tier test for quantification of alloisoleucine and branched-chain amino acids in dried blood spots to improve newborn screening for maple syrup urine disease (MSUD)

Devin Oglesbee, Karen A. Sanders, Jean M. Lacey, Mark J. Magera, Bruno Casetta, Kevin A. Strauss, Silvia Tortorelli, Piero Rinaldo, Dietrich Matern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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BACKGROUND: Newborn screening for maple syrup urine disease (MSUD) relies on finding increased concentrations of the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) leucine, isoleucine, and valine by tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS). D-Alloisoleucine (allo-Ile) is the only pathognomonic marker of MSUD, but it cannot be identified by existing screening methods because it is not differentiated from isobaric amino acids. Furthermore, newborns receiving total parenteral nutrition often have increased concentrations of BCAAs. To improve the specificity of newborn screening for MSUD and to reduce the number of diet-related false-positive results, we developed a LC-MS/MSmethod for quantifying allo-Ile. METHODS: Allo-Ile and other BCAAs were extracted from a 3/16-inch dried blood spot punch with methanol/H2O, dried under nitrogen, and reconstituted into mobile phase. Quantitative LC-MS/MS analysis of allo-Ile, its isomers, and isotopically labeled internal standards was achieved within 15 min. To determine a reference interval for BCAAs including allo-Ile, we analyzed 541 dried blood spots. We also measured allo-Ile in blinded samples from 16 MSUD patients and 21 controls and compared results to an HPLC method. RESULTS: Intra- and interassay imprecision (mean CVs) for allo-Ile, leucine, isoleucine, and valine ranged from 1.8% to 7.4%, and recovery ranged from 91% to 129%. All 16 MSUD patients were correctly identified. CONCLUSIONS: The LC-MS/MS method can reliably measure allo-Ile in dried blood spots for the diagnosis of MSUD. Applied to newborn screening as a secondtier test, it will reduce false-positive results, which produce family anxiety and increase follow-up costs. The assay also appears suitable for use in monitoring treatment of MSUD patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)542-549
Number of pages8
JournalClinical chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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