LC–MS/MS determination of N-acetylaspartic acid in dried blood spot for selective screening of Canavan disease

  • Helena JurdákováEmail author
  • Renáta Górová
  • Gabriela Addová
  • Jana Šaligová
  • Ivan Ostrovský
Original Paper


Canavan disease is a serious rare neurometabolic disorder characteristic of an accumulation of N-acetylaspartic acid (NAA) in biological fluids. Its determination mainly in urine is the key part of the diagnostic procedure. Despite the several advantages of using dried blood spot (DBS) samples for clinical analysis, it has not been reported for this purpose so far. Therefore, this work was focused on the development of a HPLC–MS/MS method for the determination of NAA in a dried blood spot. The method using a stable isotope-labeled internal standard was elaborated and partially validated, with an estimated limit of quantification of 0.06 μmol dm−3, and with intra-day and inter-day precisions up to 4.1 and 8.0%, respectively. The elaborated method was applied for the NAA determination in healthy controls and in two siblings with Canavan disease. There were three quantification approaches evaluated using one-point calibration as well as calibration curves with and without matrix. The results correlated very well and exhibited parallelism of one-point calibration and calibration curve approaches. The mean NAA concentrations determined in DBS of control newborns and older children (10 months–7 years) were 0.9 and 0.5 μmol dm−3, respectively. Patients were clearly distinguished from controls, considering the NAA concentrations were more than 10 times higher than in an aged-matched control group.

Graphical abstract


Aspartoacylase deficiency Butylation HPLC Inborn error of metabolism Mass spectrometry 



This publication is the result of the projects implementation: ITMS 26240220086 and 26240120025 supported by the Research and Development Operational Programme funded by the ERDF. Work was also supported by the Slovak Research and Development Agency under the Contract Number APVV-0840-11 and by the Slovak Grant Agency under the Contract Number VEGA 1/0899/16.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Natural SciencesComenius UniversityBratislavaSlovakia
  2. 2.Children’s Faculty HospitalKošiceSlovakia

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