High throughput UHPLC MS/MS measurement of Per and Poly Fluorinated Alkyl Substances (PFAS) in human serum

By M Abdul Mottaleb, Michael C Petriello, and Andrew J Morris
J Anal Toxicol
December 4, 2019
DOI: 10.1093/jat/bkz097

Per and Polyfluorinated Alkyl Substances (PFAS) are a large group of synthetic surfactant chemicals with widespread uses in food packaging, textile manufacturing and as the main constituent of aqueous film forming firefighting foams. PFAS are highly persistent in the environment and human exposures are extensive with these chemicals detectable in the blood of almost all adult Americans. PFAS exhibit a range of toxic effects in preclinical models. In humans, PFAS exposure has been associated with lower birth weights, decreased immune responses, cancer, and impaired fertility and elevated circulating cholesterol levels. We have developed a sensitive high throughput method for quantification of representative PFAS in human serum and plasma for biomonitoring and epidemiological studies of human health effects of PFAS exposure. The method combines robust and reproducible 96-well plate format sample preparation with ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS). The method was developed, validated and used for targeted measurements of 8 short-/long- chain PFAS analytes in human serum. Targeted analytes were measured in 50 microliters of sample using mass labeled internal standards (IS). Mean spiked recoveries (n = 10) of target analytes for 3 tiers quality control (QC-low, QC-medium, QC-high) samples ranged from 70-127% with 2-14% relative standard deviation (RSD). The average spiked recoveries (n = 10) of surrogates were 79-115% with 8-12% RSD for QC-low, 90-123% with 7-12% RSD for QC-medium, 90-123% with 7-12% RSD for QC-medium, 82-114% with 9 to 15% RSD for QC-high. The limit of detection (LOD) for the target compounds was 0.05-0.04 ng/mL. The method was used to reveal regional differences in PFAS exposures in Kentucky residents receiving care at the University of Kentucky Hospitals.

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