Measurements of desmosine and isodesmosine by mass spectrometry in COPD

Shuren Ma, Yong Y. Lin, Gerard M. Turino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


Objectives: Application of mass spectrometry (MS) for direct measurements of desmosine (D) and isodesmosine (I) in urine, plasma, and sputum as markers of elastin degradation in patients with α1-antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) and non-AATD-related COPD. Background: In COPD patients, the lungs undergo elastin injury, which can be monitored by measurements of D and I in body fluids as specific markers of elastin degradation using the specificity and sensitivity of MS. Methods: Acid hydrolysis of blood plasma, 24-h urine and sputum measurements, followed by chromatographic separation for mass spectrometric analysis. Results: Each patient group had levels of plasma D and I that were statistically significantly higher than those of control subjects. AATD patients had higher levels than COPD patients with normal α1-antitrypsin (AAT) levels. Twenty-four-hour urine measurements demonstrated no significant difference in total levels of D and I among control subjects and patients but showed a free (unbound) concentration of D and I in urine, which was statistically significantly higher in patients with COPD with and without AAT. The D and I levels in the sputum of patients with AATD exceeded the levels in COPD patients with normal AAT levels. Conclusions: MS allows a sensitive and specific analysis of D and I in body fluids. The quantification of D and I in sputum, along with increases of D and I in plasma and an elevated free component of D and I in urine provide indexes that characterize patients with COPD and can be followed in relation to the course of the disease and/or therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1363-1371
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • COPD
  • Desmosine
  • Elastin
  • Emphysema
  • Isodesmosine
  • Liquid chromatography
  • Mass spectrometry
  • α-antitrypsin deficiency


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