Quantification of free fatty acids in human stratum corneum using tandem mass spectrometry and surrogate analyte approach

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EarlyView Article

  • Published: Sep 5, 2017
  • Author: Irena Dapic, Renata Kobetic, Lidija Brkljacic, Sanja Kezic, Ivone Jakasa
  • Journal: Biomedical Chromatography


The free fatty acids (FFAs) are one of the major components of the lipids in the stratum corneum (SC), the uppermost layer of the skin. Relative composition of FFAs has been proposed as a biomarker of the skin barrier status in patients with atopic dermatitis (AD). Here, we developed an LC‐ESI‐MS/MS method for simultaneous quantification of a range of FFAs with long and very long chain length in the SC collected by adhesive tape (D‐Squame). The method, based on derivatization with 2‐bromo‐1‐methylpyridinium iodide and 3‐carbinol‐1‐methylpyridinium iodide, allowed highly sensitive detection and quantification of FFAs using multiple reaction monitoring. For the quantification, we applied a surrogate analyte approach and internal standardization using isotope labeled derivatives of FFAs. Adhesive tapes showed the presence of several FFAs, which are also present in the SC, a problem encountered in previous studies. Therefore, the levels of FFAs in the SC were corrected using C12:0, which was present on the adhesive tape, but not detected in the SC. The method was applied to SC samples from patients with atopic dermatitis and healthy subjects. Quantification using multiple reaction monitoring allowed sufficient sensitivity to analyze FFAs of chain lengths C16–C28 in the SC collected on only one tape strip.

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