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01.12.2017 | Research | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Respiratory Research 1/2017

Determining the presence of asthma-related molecules and salivary contamination in exhaled breath condensate

Zeitschrift:
Respiratory Research > Ausgabe 1/2017
Autoren:
Charmion Cruickshank-Quinn, Michael Armstrong, Roger Powell, Joe Gomez, Marc Elie, Nichole Reisdorph
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12931-017-0538-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Abstract

Background

Researchers investigating lung diseases, such as asthma, have questioned whether certain compounds previously reported in exhaled breath condensate (EBC) originate from saliva contamination. Moreover, despite its increasing use in ‘omics profiling studies, the constituents of EBC remain largely uncharacterized. The present study aims to define the usefulness of EBC in investigating lung disease by comparing EBC, saliva, and saliva-contaminated EBC using targeted and untargeted mass spectrometry and the potential of metabolite loss from adsorption to EBC sample collection tubes.

Methods

Liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS) was used to analyze samples from 133 individuals from three different cohorts. Levels of amino acids and eicosanoids, two classes of molecules previously reported in EBC and saliva, were measured using targeted LC-MS. Cohort 1 was used to examine contamination of EBC by saliva. Samples from Cohort 1 consisted of clean EBC, saliva-contaminated EBC, and clean saliva from 13 healthy volunteers; samples were analyzed using untargeted LC-MS. Cohort 2 was used to compare eicosanoid levels from matched EBC and saliva collected from 107 asthmatic subjects. Samples were analyzed using both targeted and untargeted LC-MS. Cohort 3 samples consisted of clean-EBC collected from 13 subjects, including smokers and non-smokers, and were used to independently confirm findings; samples were analyzed using targeted LC-MS, untargeted LC-MS, and proteomics. In addition to human samples, an in-house developed nebulizing system was used to determine the potential for EBC samples to be contaminated by saliva.

Results

Out of the 400 metabolites detected in both EBC and saliva, 77 were specific to EBC; however, EBC samples were concentrated 20-fold to achieve this level of sensitivity. Amino acid concentrations ranged from 196 pg/mL – 4 μg/mL (clean EBC), 1.98 ng/mL – 6 μg/mL (saliva-contaminated EBC), and 13.84 ng/mL – 1256 mg/mL (saliva). Eicosanoid concentration ranges were an order of magnitude lower; 10 pg/mL – 76.5 ng/mL (clean EBC), 10 pg/mL – 898 ng/mL (saliva-contaminated EBC), and 2.54 ng/mL – 272.9 mg/mL (saliva). Although the sample size of the replication cohort (Cohort 3) did not allow for statistical comparisons, two proteins and 19 eicosanoids were detected in smoker vs. non-smoker clean-EBC.

Conclusions

We conclude that metabolites are present and detectable in EBC using LC-MS; however, a large starting volume of sample is required.
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