Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 406, Issue 12, pp 2779–2788 | Cite as

Determination of selected endocrine disrupting compounds in human fetal and newborn tissues by GC-MS

  • Achille CappielloEmail author
  • Giorgio Famiglini
  • Pierangela Palma
  • Veronica Termopoli
  • Anna Maria Lavezzi
  • Luigi Matturri
Research Paper
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Endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) include organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), organophosphate pesticides (OPPs), carbamate pesticides, and plasticizers, such as bisphenol A (BPA). They persist in the environment because of their degradation resistance and bioaccumulate in the body tissues of humans and other mammals. Many studies are focused on the possible correlation between in utero exposure to EDCs and adverse health hazards in fetuses and newborns. In the last decade, environmental pollution has been considered a possible trigger for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Sudden Intrauterine Unexplained Death Syndrome (SIUDS), the most important death-causing syndromes in fetuses and newborns in developed countries. In this work, a rapid and sensitive analytical method was developed to determine the level of OCPs and OPPs, carbamates, and phenols in human fetal and newborn tissues (liver and brain) and to unveil the possible presence of non-targeted compounds. The target analytes where selected on the basis of their documented presence in the Trentino-Alto Adige region, an intensive agricultural area in northern Italy. A liquid-solid extraction procedure was applied on human and animal tissues and the extracts, after a solid phase extraction (SPE) clean-up procedure, were analyzed by gas chromatography coupled to a quadrupole mass spectrometric detector (GC-qMS). A GC-TOFMS (time-of-flight) instrument, because of its higher full-scan sensitivity, was used for a parallel detection of non-targeted compounds. Method validation included accuracy, precision, detection, and quantification limits (LODs; LOQs), and linearity response using swine liver and lamb brain spiked at different concentrations in the range of 0.4–8000.0 ng/g. The method gave good repeatability and extraction efficiency. Method LOQs ranged from 0.4–4.0 ng/g in the selected matrices. Good linearity was obtained over four orders of magnitude starting from LOQs. Isotopically labeled internal standards were used for quantitative calculations. The method was then successfully applied to the analysis of liver and brain tissues from SIUDS and SIDS victims coming from the above mentioned region.


Endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) Sudden Intrauterine Unexplained Death Syndrome (SIUDS) Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Gas chromatography-mass xpectrometry (GC-MS) Fast-GC TOF (time-of-flight) MS 



The authors thank DANI Instruments S.p.A for providing the GC-TOFMS instrument.

This study was supported by the Italian National Research Program, PRIN 2009.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Achille Cappiello
    • 1
    Email author
  • Giorgio Famiglini
    • 1
  • Pierangela Palma
    • 1
  • Veronica Termopoli
    • 1
  • Anna Maria Lavezzi
    • 2
  • Luigi Matturri
    • 2
  1. 1.LC-MS Laboratory, DiSTeVAUniversity of UrbinoUrbinoItaly
  2. 2.Research Center “Lino Rossi”University of MilanMilanItaly

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