Reverse-polynomial dilution calibration methodology extends lower limit of quantification and reduces relative residual error in targeted peptide measurements in blood plasma

Yunki Y. Yau, Xizi Duo, Rupert W L Leong, Valerie C. Wasinger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Matrix effect is the alteration of an analyte's concentration- signal response caused by co-existing ion components. With electrospray ionization (ESI), matrix effects are believed to be a function of the relative concentrations, ionization efficiency, and solvation energies of the analytes within the electrospray ionization droplet. For biological matrices such as plasma, the interactions between droplet components is immensely complex and the effect on analyte signal response not well elucidated. This study comprised of three sequential quantitative analyses: we investigated whether there is a generalizable correlation between the range of unique ions in a sample matrix (complexity); the amount of matrix components (concentration); and matrix effect, by comparing an E. coli digest matrix (∼2600 protein proteome) with phospholipid depleted human blood plasma, and unfractionated, nondepleted human plasma matrices (∼107 proteome) for six human plasma peptide multiple reaction monitoring assays. Our data set demonstrated analyte-specific interactions with matrix complexity and concentration properties resulting in significant ion suppression for all peptides (p < 0.01), with nonuniform effects on the ion signals of the analytes and their stable-isotope analogs. These matrix effects were then assessed for translation into relative residual error and precision effects in a low concentration (∼0-250 ng/ml) range across no-matrix, complex matrix, and highly complex matrix, when a standard addition stable isotope dilution calibration method was used. Relative residual error (%) and precision (CV%) by stable isotope dilution were within <20%; however, error in phospholipid- depleted and nondepleted plasma matrices were significantly higher compared with no-matrix (p = 0.006). Finally a novel reverse-polynomial dilution calibration method with and without phospholipid-depletion was compared with stable isotope dilution for relative residual error and precision. Reverse-polynomial dilution techniques extend the Lower Limit of Quantification and reduce error (p = 0.005) in low-concentration plasma peptide assays and is broadly applicable for verification phase Tier 2 multiplexed multiple reaction monitoring assay development within the FDA-National Cancer Institute (NCI) biomarker development pipeline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-454
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular and Cellular Proteomics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes


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