A validated method for quantifying hypoglycin A in whole blood by UHPLC-HRMS/MS.
Hypoglycin A (HGA) is the toxic principle in ackee (Blighia sapida Koenig), a nutritious and readily available fruit which is a staple of the Jamaican working-class and rural population. The aril of the unripe fruit has high concentrations of HGA, the cause of Jamaican vomiting sickness, which is very often fatal. HGA is also present in the samara of several species of maple (Acer spp.) which are suspected to cause seasonal pasture myopathy in North America and equine atypical myopathy in Europe, often fatal for horses. The aim of this study was to develop a method for quantifying HGA in blood that would be sensitive enough to provide toxicological evidence of ackee or maple poisoning. Analysis was carried out using solid-phase extraction (HILIC cartridges), dansyl derivatization and UHPLC-HRMS/MS detection. The method was validated in whole blood with a detection limit of 0.35 μg/L (range: 0.8-500 μg/L). This is the first method applicable in forensic toxicology for quantifying HGA in whole blood. HGA was quantified in two serum samples from horses suffering from atypical myopathy. The concentrations were 446.9 and 87.8 μg/L. HGA was also quantified in dried arils of unripe ackee fruit (Suriname) and seeds of sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus L.) (France). The concentrations were 7.2 and 0.74 mg/g respectively.