Critical mass: Studying treatments for age-related muscle loss

How researchers are using LCMS to investigate amino acids in blood plasma

Loss of muscle mass and strength, known as sarcopenia, is a significant cause of hospitalisation and loss of independence in older people. Researchers at Leeds Beckett University’s Carnegie School of Sport are on a mission to address this, by understanding the effect of amino acid supplements and steroid hormones on muscle mass

One of the research groups tackling this challenge is a team led by Dr Theocharis Ispoglou at the Carnegie School of Sport. Part of Leeds Beckett University, the School is one of the largest UK providers of higher education sports courses, but also undertakes research programmes, including several focused on improving human health. Luke Aldrich, Ph.D. student, has been using Shimadzu’s LCMS-8045 system to undertake investigations into how the composition of amino acid supplements affects the blood plasma concentrations of a range of essential amino acids.


Luke Aldrich commented: “Although we had a good method for LCMS analysis of amino acids, the sample prep stage wasn’t applicable to blood plasma. But with help from Shimadzu, we were able to make some modifications, including changing the diluent, adjusting the acidity, optimising the filtration step, and more. They really helped us to work through the different options, to ensure we got the best possible recovery and data quality”. 


Dr Theocharis Ispoglou (left) and Ph.D. student Luke Aldrich (right) with their Shimadzu LCMS-8045 system in the Carnegie School of Sport at Leeds Beckett University.


"The Shimadzu team has also been really responsive," says Luke, providing rapid support by email or phone any time they need it: “they’re straight on to it, and really helpful!”. Luke adds that in the last six months they’ve often benefitted with same-day on-site support from Shimadzu technical specialists: “Not many manufacturers offer that level of service”, he says.


Dr Ispoglou added: “They’ve been incredible, and our experience has been highly positive. It’s clear to me that they genuinely care about what we’re doing, and they want us to do the best with the data we have”.


Luke agrees: “We can’t fault Shimadzu at all – the equipment is reliable and the service has been brilliant!”.

Dr Ispoglou concludes that the availability of the Shimadzu LCMS equipment within the new laboratory facilities at the Carnegie School of Sport has been a game-changer for the team’s ambitions. “To continually advance your research, you need to invest in equipment and people, and our new instrumentation has absolutely enabled us to take our research to the next level”, he says. “LCMS certainly has the potential to foster the development of novel insights in the field of sport, exercise science and nutrition”.

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