Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 410, Issue 12, pp 2971–2979 | Cite as

Variations of l- and d-amino acid levels in the brain of wild-type and mutant mice lacking d-amino acid oxidase activity

  • Siqi Du
  • Yadi Wang
  • Choyce A. Weatherly
  • Kylie Holden
  • Daniel W. ArmstrongEmail author
Research Paper


d-amino acids are now recognized to be widely present in organisms and play essential roles in biological processes. Some d-amino acids are metabolized by d-amino acid oxidase (DAO), while d-Asp and d-Glu are metabolized by d-aspartate oxidase (DDO). In this study, levels of 22 amino acids and the enantiomeric compositions of the 19 chiral proteogenic entities have been determined in the whole brain of wild-type ddY mice (ddY/DAO+/+), mutant mice lacking DAO activity (ddY/DAO−/−), and the heterozygous mice (ddY/DAO+/−) using high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS). No significant differences were observed for l-amino acid levels among the three strains except for l-Trp which was markedly elevated in the DAO+/− and DAO−/− mice. The question arises as to whether this is an unknown effect of DAO inactivity. The three highest levels of l-amino acids were l-Glu, l-Asp, and l-Gln in all the three strains. The lowest l-amino acid level was l-Cys in ddY/DAO+/− and ddY/DAO−/− mice, while l-Trp showed the lowest level in ddY/DAO+/+mice. The highest concentration of d-amino acid was found to be d-Ser, which also had the highest % d value (~ 25%). d-Glu had the lowest % d value (~ 0.01%) in all the three strains. Significant differences of d-Leu, d-Ala, d-Ser, d-Arg, and d-Ile were observed in ddY/DAO+/− and ddY/DAO−/− mice compared to ddY/DAO+/+ mice. This work provides the most complete baseline analysis of l- and d-amino acids in the brains of ddY/DAO+/+, ddY/DAO+/−, and ddY/DAO−/− mice yet reported. It also provides the most effective and efficient analytical approach for measuring these analytes in biological samples. This study provides fundamental information on the role of DAO in the brain and may be relevant for future development involving novel drugs for DAO regulation.


d-amino acids HPLC-MS/MS Chiral separation Brain amino acids d-amino acid oxidase 



We would like to thank Dr. Adam L. Hartman (NIH and JHUSOM) for providing the mouse brain samples for this study, and the ddY mice used in this study were a kind gift from Thomas N. Seyfried (Boston College) to Dr. Hartman. We are also grateful to Dr. Hartman for his assistance with the statistical analysis and comments that greatly improved the manuscript. We thank AZYP, LLC, for their technical support for HPLC chiral column technology. We would also like to thank the Shimadzu Center for Advanced Analytical Chemistry for the use of the Shimadzu instrument (LCMS-8040).

Funding information

This work was supported by the Robert A. Welch Foundation (Y0026) (DWA).

Compliance with ethical standards

The study was carried out under experimental protocols approved by the Johns Hopkins Institution Animal Care and Use Committee.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

216_2018_979_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (184 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 184 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Siqi Du
    • 1
  • Yadi Wang
    • 1
  • Choyce A. Weatherly
    • 1
  • Kylie Holden
    • 2
  • Daniel W. Armstrong
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and BiochemistryUniversity of Texas at ArlingtonArlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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