American Chemical Society
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Sensitive Quantification of Nicotine in Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid by Acetone Precipitation Combined With Isotope-Dilution Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-05-25, 19:33 authored by Baoyun Xia, Benjamin C. Blount, Lanqing Wang
The United States experienced an outbreak of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) that began in August 2019. Patient diagnosis and treatment sometimes involved bronchoscopy and collection of the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid. Although this matrix has been useful for understanding some chemical exposures in the lungs, no methods existed for measuring the nicotine content. Therefore, we developed a simple and sensitive method for measuring nicotine in the BAL fluid. Nicotine was extracted from the BAL fluid using acetone precipitation in a 96-well plate format to increase the sample throughput (200 samples/day). We optimized liquid chromatography column conditions (e.g., mobile phase, column temperature) and mass spectrometry parameters to improve the signal-to-noise ratio and lower limits of detection (LOD) for measuring nicotine in the BAL fluid. The LOD for nicotine in the BAL fluid was 0.050 ng/mL at a sample volume of 40 μL of the BAL fluid. The within-day and between-day imprecision and bias were less than 10%. This method detected nicotine in 15 of 43 BAL fluids from EVALI case patients. This method is useful for understanding recent inhalational exposure to nicotine as part of characterizing EVALI or similar illnesses.