Quantitation of Glutathione by Quinoline-5, 8-Dione-Based Tag Strategy Using MALDI Mass Spectrometry

  • Liming Guo
  • Chunsheng XiaoEmail author
  • Sheng Wang
  • Tianyang Gao
  • Ling Ling
  • Xinhua GuoEmail author
Research Article


In the present work, we developed an UV-absorptive and highly reactive tag aromatic molecule, quinoline-5,8-dione (QLD), for robust quantitative analysis of GSH by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry. The QLD could react with GSH with high efficiency at room temperature, and the resultant QLD-GSH conjugate could be readily detected by MALDI MS without interferences. By using the QLD tag, the detection limit of GSH was lowered to 10 fmol μL−1, which was four orders of magnitude higher than that detected without using the QLD tag. Furthermore, accurate quantitative measurements of GSH in solution were successfully demonstrated by using glutamic acid-cysteine-alanine (ECA) as an internal standard. By properly adjusting the ECA concentrations, the intensity ratio value of QLD-tagged GSH (QLD-GSH) to QLD-tagged ECA (QLD-ECA) displayed a good linearity with GSH concentrations in a broad range from 4 to 4000 μM. Finally, the GSH level in HeLa cell lysates was also successfully detected, and the results are consistent with that obtained by a colorimetric assay. In summary, the proposed QLD-based tag method should be a rapid, cost-/time-effective, and sensitive new method for quantitative determination of GSH by MALDI MS.

Graphical Abstract


Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry Quantification Glutathione Cells 



The authors acknowledge financial supported for this work by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21874054, 21675060 and 21175056) and the Youth Innovation Promotion Association of CAS (2017266).

Supplementary material

13361_2019_2135_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.2 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 1.16 mb)


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Copyright information

© American Society for Mass Spectrometry 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Supramolecular Structure and Materials, College of ChemistryJilin UniversityChangchunChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Polymer Ecomaterials, Changchun Institute of Applied ChemistryChinese Academy of SciencesChangchunChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory for Molecular Enzymology and Engineering of the Ministry of Education, College of Life ScienceJilin UniversityChangchunChina

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