Technology to enable rapid screening for radiation exposure has been identified as an important need, and, as a part of a NIH/NIAD effort in this direction, metabolomic biomarkers for radiation exposure have been identified in a recent series of papers. To reduce the time necessary to detect and measure these biomarkers, differential mobility spectrometry-mass spectrometry (DMS-MS) systems have been developed and tested. Differential mobility ion filters preselect specific ions and also suppress chemical noise created in typical atmospheric-pressure ionization sources (ESI, MALDI, and others). Differential-mobility-based ion selection is based on the field dependence of ion mobility, which, in turn, depends on ion characteristics that include conformation, charge distribution, molecular polarizability, and other properties, and on the transport gas composition which can be modified to enhance resolution. DMS-MS is able to resolve small-molecule biomarkers from isobaric interferences, and suppresses chemical noise generated in the ion source and in the mass spectrometer, improving selectivity and quantitative accuracy. Our planar DMS design is rapid, operating in a few milliseconds, and analyzes ions before fragmentation. Depending on MS inlet conditions, DMS-selected ions can be dissociated in the MS inlet expansion, before mass analysis, providing a capability similar to MS/MS with simpler instrumentation. This report presents selected DMS-MS experimental results, including resolution of complex test mixtures of isobaric compounds, separation of charge states, separation of isobaric biomarkers (citrate and isocitrate), and separation of nearly isobaric biomarker anions in direct analysis of a bio-fluid sample from the radiation-treated group of a mouse-model study. These uses of DMS combined with moderate resolution MS instrumentation indicate the feasibility of field-deployable instrumentation for biomarker evaluation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry