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Quantitative High-Field NMR- and Mass Spectrometry-Based Fatty Acid Sequencing Reveals Internal Structure in Ru-Catalyzed Deuteration of Docosahexaenoic Acid

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posted on 2022-09-15, 15:33 authored by Dong Hao Wang, Dragoslav Vidovic, Alasdair I. McKay, Tamim Darwish, Hui Gyu Park, Secilia Martinez Garza, Samuel W. Shields, Jennifer S. Brodbelt, Zhen Wang, R. J. Scott Lacombe, Vadim V. Shmanai, Ivan L. Lysenko, Andrei V. Bekish, Karsten Schmidt, Christina Redfield, J. Thomas Brenna, Mikhail S. Shchepinov
Ru-based catalysis results in highly unsaturated fatty acid (HUFA) ethyl esters (EE) deuterated to various extents. The products carry 2H (D) mainly at their bis-allylic positions, where they are resistant to autoxidation compared to natural HUFA and are promising as neurological and retinal drugs. We characterized the extent of deuteration at each allylic position of docosa-4,7,10,13,16,19-hexaenoic acid deuterated to completion at bis-allylic and allylic positions (D-DHA) by two-dimensional (2D) and high-field (600 and 950 MHz) NMR. In separate experiments, the kinetics of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) EE deuteration was evaluated using Paternò–Büchi (PB) reaction tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) analysis, enabling deuteration to be quantitatively characterized for isotopologues (D0–D14 DHA) at each internal allylic position. NMR analysis shows that the net deuteration of the isotopologue mixture is about 94% at the bis-allylic positions, and less than 1% remained as the protiated −CH2–. MS analysis shows that deuteration kinetics follow an increasing curve at bis-allylic positions with higher rate for internal bis-allylic positions. Percent D of bis-allylic positions increases linearly from D1 to D9 in which all internal bis-allylic positions (C9, C12, C15) deuterate uniformly and more rapidly than external bis-allylic positions (C6, C18). The mono-allylic positions near the methyl end (C21) show a steep increase of D only after the D10 isotopologue has been deuterated to >90%, while the mono-allylic position near the carboxyl position, C3, deuterates last and least. These data establish detailed methods for the characterization of Ru-catalyzed deuteration of HUFA as well as the phenomenological reaction kinetics as net product is formed.

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