We have developed and described a highly sensitive, accurate and precise reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC) method for the simultaneous determination of l-arginine and 12 molecules participating in its metabolic cycle in human urine samples. After pre-column derivatization with ortho-phthaldialdehyde (OPA) reagent containing 3-mercaptopropionic acid (3MPA), the fluorescent derivatives were separated by a gradient elution and detected by fluorescence measurement at 338 nm (excitation) and 455 nm (emission). l-Arginine (ARG) and its metabolites: l-glutamine (GLN), NG-hydroxy-l-arginine (NOHA), l-citrulline (CIT), NG-monomethyl-l-arginine (NMMA), l-homoarginine (HARG), asymmetric NG,NG-dimethyl-l-arginine (ADMA), symmetric NG,NG′-dimethyl-l-arginine (SDMA), l-ornithine (ORN), putrescine (PUT), agmatine (AGM), spermidine (SPERMD) and spermine (SPERM) were extracted in a cation-exchange solid-phase extraction (SPE) column and after derivatization separated in a Purospher® STAR RP-18e analytical column. The calibration curves of analysed compounds are linear within the range of concentration: 45-825, 0.2-15, 16-225, 12-285, 0.1-32, 15-235, 0.1-12, 0.1-12, 10-205, 0.02-12, 0.1-24, 0.01-10 and 0.01-8 nmol mL-1 for GLN, NOHA, CIT, ARG, NMMA, HARG, ADMA, SDMA, ORN, PUT, AGM, SPERMD and SPERM, respectively. The correlation coefficients are greater than 0.9980. Coefficients of variation are not higher than 6.0% for inter-day precision. The method has been determined or tested for limits of detection and quantification, linearity, precision, accuracy and recovery. All detection parameters of the method demonstrate that it is a reliable and efficient means of the comprehensive determination of ARG and its 12 main metabolites, making this approach suitable for routine clinical applications. The levels of analysed compounds in human urine can be successfully determined using this developed method with no matrix effect. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
2007. Vol. 605, no 2, 205-217 p.