Considering that neurotransmitters (NTs) and amino acids (AAs) exert pivotal roles in various neurological diseases, global detection of these endogenous metabolites is of great significance for the treatment of nervous system diseases. Herein, a workflow that could cope with various challenges was proposed to establish an extendable all-in-one injection liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) assay for analyzing these small molecular metabolites with high coverage. To obtain a qualified blank biological matrix for the preparation of standard curves and quality control samples, different absorption solvents, including activated carbon (AC), calcite (Cal) and montmorillonite (Mnt) were systematically evaluated for efficient absorption of endogenous substances with minimum residue. We also firstly proposed a “Collision Energy Defect (CED)” strategy to solve the huge difference of mass signal strength caused by different properties and concentrations of 11 NTs and 17 AAs. The quantitative results were validated by LC-MS/MS. Sensitivity, accuracy, and recovery meeting generally accepted bioanalytic guidelines were observed in a concentration span of at least 100 to 500 times for each analyte. Then the temporal changes of intracerebral and peripheral NTs and AAs in ischemic stroke model and sham operated rats were successfully produced and compared using the described method. All these results suggested that the currently developed assay was powerful enough to simultaneously monitor a large panel of endogenous small molecule metabolites, which was expected to be widely used in the research of various diseases mediated by NTs and AAs.
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