Sensitive mass spectrometric determination of kinin-kallikrein system peptides in light of COVID-19

Tanja Gangnus, Bjoern B. Burckhardt

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Received date: 21st October 2020

The outbreak of COVID-19 has raised interest in the kinin–kallikrein system, as symptoms were postulated to be in connection. Viral blockade of the angiotensin-converting-enzyme 2 impedes degradation of the active kinin des-Arg(9)-bradykinin, which thus increasingly activates bradykinin receptors known to promote inflammation, cough, and edema – symptoms that are commonly observed in COVID-19. However, lean and reliable investigation of the postulated alterations is currently hindered by non-specific peptide adsorption, lacking sensitivity, and cross-reactivity of applicable assays. Here, an LC-MS/MS method was established to determine the following kinins in respiratory lavage fluids: kallidin, bradykinin, des-Arg(10)-kallidin, des-Arg(9)-bradykinin, bradykinin 1-7, bradykinin 2-9 and bradykinin 1-5. This method was fully validated according to regulatory bioanalytical guidelines of the European Medicine Agency and the US Food and Drug Administration and has a broad calibration curve range (up to a factor of 103), encompassing low quantification limits of 4.4–22.8 pg/mL (depending on the individual kinin). The application of the developed LC-MS/MS method to nasal lavage fluid allowed for the rapid (~2 hours), comprehensive and low-volume (100 µL) determination of kinins for the first time. Hence, this novel assay supports current efforts to investigate the pathophysiology of COVID-19, but can also be extended to other diseases.

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This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on a preprint server, which is currently undergoing peer review at Scientific Reports. The findings have yet to be thoroughly evaluated, nor has a decision on ultimate publication been made. Therefore, the results reported should not be considered conclusive, and these findings should not be used to inform clinical practice, or public health policy, or be promoted as verified information.

Scientific Reports

Nature Research, Springer Nature