Analysis of urinary porphyrins by high performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry

Jinhua Li, Zongwei CAI*, Shoufang Xu, Chunyang Liao, Xingliang Song, Lingxin Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


A high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (HPLC-ESI-MS) method was developed for the simultaneous separation and detection of six porphyrins, namely uroporphyrin (UP), heptacarboxylic acid porphyrin (HEPTAP), hexacarboxylic acid porphyrin (HEXAP), pentacarboxylic acid porphyrin (PENTAP), coproporphyrin (CP), and mesoporphyrin (MP), in human urine samples. The recoveries of the porphyrins in urine ranged from 84 to 108%. The intra- and inter-day precisions at spiked porphyrin concentrations were 4.0-9.7% and 5.5-15%, respectively. The limits of detection (LOD) ranged from 0.2 to 3nM. The developed method was successfully applied to the determination of endogenous porphyrins in human urine. UP, HEPTAP, and PENTAP were detected at levels of 42.4, 21.3, and 18.0nM, respectively. CP was detected as the predominant species at 135.6nM, wheres MP and HEXAP were not detected in the urine samples from healthy females. Significant increases of CP excretion in urine from liver disease patients were observed. This method proved potentially applicable for the routine diagnosis and treatment of porphyrin-related diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1578-1593
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Liquid Chromatography and Related Technologies
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Clinical Biochemistry

User-Defined Keywords

  • electrospray ionization
  • high performance liquid chromatography
  • human urine
  • mass spectrometry
  • porphyrins
  • solid-phase extraction


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