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The kallikrein-kinin system (KKS) is involved in many physiological and pathophysiological processes and is assumed to be connected to the development of clinical symptoms of angioedema or COVID-19, among other diseases. However, despite its diverse role in the regulation of physiological and pathophysiological functions, knowledge about the KKS in vivo remains limited. The short half-lives of kinins, their low abundance and structural similarities and the artificial generation of the kinin bradykinin greatly hinder reliable and accurate determination of kinin levels in plasma. To address these issues, a sensitive LC-MS/MS platform for the comprehensive and simultaneous determination of the four active kinins bradykinin, kallidin, des-Arg(9)-bradykinin and des-Arg(10)-kallidin and their major metabolites bradykinin 2-9, bradykinin 1-7 and bradykinin 1-5 was developed. This platform was validated according to the bioanalytical guideline of the US Food and Drug Administration regarding linearity, accuracy, precision, sensitivity, carry-over, recovery, parallelism, matrix effects and stability in plasma of healthy volunteers. The validated platform encompassed a broad calibration curve range from 2.0-15.3 pg/mL (depending on the kinin) up to 1000 pg/mL, covering the expected concentrations in disease states. No source-dependent matrix effects were identified, and suitable stability of the analytes in plasma was observed. The applicability of the developed platform was proven by the determination of endogenous levels in healthy volunteers, whose plasma kinin levels were successfully detected in the low pg/mL range. The established platform facilitates the investigation of kinin-mediated diseases (e.g. angioedema, COVID-19) and enables the assessment of the impact of altered enzyme activities on the formation or degradation of kinins.


Tanja Gangnus, Bjoern B Burckhardt. Targeted LC-MS/MS platform for the comprehensive determination of peptides in the kallikrein-kinin system. Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry. 2021 May;413(11):2971-2984

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PMID: 33693976

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