, Volume 24, Issue 10, pp 1451-1455
Date: 18 Aug 2013

Mechanism of Formation of the Major Estradiol Product Ions Following Collisional Activation of the Molecular Anion in a Tandem Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer

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The importance of the mass spectral product ion structure is highlighted in quantitative assays, which typically use multiple reaction monitoring (MRM), and in the discovery of novel metabolites. Estradiol is an important sex steroid whose quantitation and metabolite identification using tandem mass spectrometry has been widely employed in numerous clinical studies. Negative electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry of estradiol (E2) results in several product ions, including the abundant m/z 183 and 169. Although m/z 183 is one of the most abundant product ions used in many quantitative assays, the structure of m/z 183 has not been rigorously examined. We suggest a structure for m/z 183 and a mechanism of formation consistent with collision induced dissociation (CID) of E2 and several stable isotopes ([D4]-E2, [13C6]-E2, and [D1]-E2). An additional product ion from E2, namely m/z 169, has also been examined. MS3 experiments indicated that both m/z 183 and m/z 169 originate from only E2 [M – H] m/z 271. These ions, m/z 183 and m/z 169, were also present in the collision induced decomposition mass spectra of other prominent estrogens, estrone (E1) and estriol (E3), indicating that these two product ions could be used to elucidate the estrogenic origin of novel metabolites. We propose two fragmentation schemes to explain the CID data and suggest a structure of m/z 183 and m/z 169 consistent with several isotopic variants and high resolution mass spectrometric measurements.