Analytics and Mass Spectrometry

Analytics and Mass Spectrometry

This Core Unit carries out various measurements for projects running at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry. We have particular expertise in mass spectrometry, therapeutic drug monitoring in humans and mice, pharmacokinetics, metabolomics, steroid measurements and cerebrospinal fluid analysis. Project-specific issues are tackled using appropriate methods, which may be employed in our clinical lab in the case of clinical projects. Analytical processes including those for mass spectrometry are developed specifically for the project. The methods of measurement are adapted to animal or cell culture material depending on the question.

In cooperation with the Biobanking and Molecular Biology Core Unit, sample processing and sample shipping is organized.

It is part of the unit’s responsibilities to continue developing new methods required for the alignment of the Institute and homogeneity purposes. To this end, we focus on the above-mentioned fields of expertise and dispose of a quality management system including the corresponding documentation.

Below, some selected characteristics and methods are outlined.

Sample material

  • Human: Serum, plasma, cerebrospinal fluid, urine, saliva, etc.
  • Animal: Serum, plasma, brain, hippocampus, spleen, kidney, liver, testicles, lung, intestine, etc.
  • Cell culture: Cellular material, supernatants, etc.

Sample preparation methods

  • Plasma and serum samples are diluted or concentrated as required.
  • Depending on the amount and material of the sample, different equipment and methods – closed systems excluding contamination and ensuring reproducibility – are used for homogenization.
  • Various methods of extraction can be employed. Apart from liquid-liquid extraction, solid phase extraction plates using different sorbents are applied. We have developed a variety of extraction methods to achieve maximum recovery and reproducibility for various substance classes.

Mass spectrometry

In a mass spectrometer, molecules are analyzed using their mass/charge (m/z) ratio. To this end, the molecules have to be ionized first. We have two mass spectrometers at our disposal: the API 4000, coupled with an HPLC, is primarily used for therapeutic drug monitoring. By means of column switching, other research projects producing a smaller number of samples can also utilize this appliance. The QTrap 5500, coupled with a UPLC, is mostly applied for research purposes. It is mainly characterized by its high sensitivity. Although both mass spectrometers use electrospray ionization (ESI), chemical ionization under atmospheric pressure (APCI) might be employed for the determination of specific analytes.

Measuring equipment:

  • QTrap 5500 (ABSciex) coupled with Acquity UPLC (Waters)
  • API 4000 (ABSciex) coupled with 1100 HPLC (Agilent)

Immunological methods

  • Methods such as multi-analyte, ELISA, RIA, etc.
  • Determination of peptides, proteins, hormones, steroids, cytokines from serum and cerebrospinal fluid
  • Cobas (Modul 6000, 501, 601) (Roche) (methods of clinical lab)
  • Luminex (Invitrogen) multi-analyte, commercial kits and developments of the lab

Clinical laboratory parameters

All methods of the clinical lab for studies with patients, subjects and animal models

Further services performed

  • Determination of psychopharmaceuticals in human plasma and CSF samples
  • Determination of psychopharmaceuticals in animal material
  • Measurement of steroid profiles in human plasma/serum and animal serum
  • Measurement of endogenous substances in human plasma/serum and animal serum
  • Performance and measurement of commercial MS-based metabolomics kits
  • Homogenization of mural tissue using various techniques
  • Development of new analytical methods for desired analytes
  • Extraction of samples for NMR measurements
  • Metabolomics platform for determining a multitude of metabolites from various pathways (under development)
  • Derivatization reactions to improve the sensitivity in low-concentration analytes
  • Search for biomarkers
  • etc.
Go to Editor View