New simpler/cheaper test for MMA:
J Nutr. 2014 Aug 20. pii: jn.114.194829. [Epub ahead of print]
Methylmalonic Acid Quantified in Dried Blood Spots Provides a Precise, Valid, and Stable Measure of Functional Vitamin B-12 Status in Healthy Women.
Methylmalonic acid (MMA) is a sensitive and specific functional biomarker of vitamin B-12 status, commonly assessed in plasma or serum. Dried blood spots (DBSs) allow simpler and more cost-efficient blood sampling than plasma. To facilitate convenient testing for vitamin B-12 deficiency in large-scale surveys and in population groups from remote areas, we developed a method for MMA quantification in DBSs and tested its applicability as well as the long-term stability of MMA in DBSs at various temperatures. MMA was extracted from an 8-mm DBS punch with water:methanol (95:5, v:v) and methyl-d3-malonic acid as the internal standard. After sample cleanup by ultrafiltration and hexane extraction, MMA was quantified by using reversed-phase LC-tandem mass spectrometry. Extraction conditions were optimized to maximize the detection signal and achieve DBS extract concentrations above the lowest limit of quantification (signal-to-noise ratio ≥ 10) of 10 nmol/L. Recovery was between 93% and 96%. Intra- and interassay variation (CV%) for DBS MMA was 0.49% and 2.3%, respectively. Calibrators showed linearity (R2 = 0.998) between 10 and 10,000 nmol/L. In 94 healthy women, MMA concentrations in DBS extract (min-max: 10.2-80.5 nmol/L) and plasma (min-max: 68-950 nmol/L) were correlated (ρ = 0.90) (P < 0.001). MMA concentrations in DBSs were stable at room temperature for 1 wk, in the refrigerator for 8 wk, and at -80°C for (at least) 1 y. This simple and robust method allows quantification of MMA in DBSs of healthy individuals. The linear relation between plasma and DBS MMA suggests that DBS MMA could predict plasma MMA, the current reference indicator for functional vitamin B-12 deficiency. With the advantages of minimally invasive specimen collection and no need for laborious blood processing steps, this method has the potential to be a reliable, convenient, and field-applicable alternative for assessment of vitamin B-12 status.