Impact of sample preparation upon intracellular metabolite measurements in 3D cell culture systems


Authored by  C Mathon, D Bovard, Q Dutertre, S Sendyk, M Bentley, J Hoeng, A Knorr

Published in Metabolomics      

Abstract

Introduction
Interest in cell culture metabolomics has increased greatly in recent years because of its many potential applications and advantages (e.g., in toxicology). The first critical step for exploring the cellular metabolome is sample preparation. For metabolomics studies, an ideal sample preparation would extract a maximum number of metabolites and would enable reproducible, accurate analysis of a large number of samples and replicates. In addition, it would provide consistent results across several studies over a relatively long time frame.

Objectives
This study was conducted to evaluate the impact of sample preparation strategies on monitoring intracellular metabolite responses, highlighting the potential critical step(s) in order to finally improve the quality of metabolomics studies.

Methods
The sample preparation strategies were evaluated by calculating the sample preparation effect, matrix factor, and process efficiency (PE) for 16 tobacco exposition-related metabolites, including nicotine, nicotine-derived nitrosamine ketone, their major metabolites, and glutathione, using isotopically-labelled internal standards. Samples were analyzed by liquid chromatography (LC) coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS).

Results
A sample drying step increased losses or variability for some selected metabolites. By avoiding evaporation, good sample preparation recovery was obtained for these compounds. For some metabolites, the cell or culture type impacted PE and matrix factor.

Conclusion
In our sample preparation protocol, the drying–reconstitution step was identified as the main cause of metabolite losses or increased data variability during metabolomics analysis by LC-HRMS. Furthermore, PE was affected by the type of matrix. Isotopologue internal standards fully compensate losses or enhancements.