We have synthesized 4,4-dimethoxyoxazoline derivatives of several fatty acids associated with the endocannabinoid metabolome using tris(hydroxymethyl)aminomethane in a 1-step reaction by microwave irradiation. The derivatization incorporates a nitrogen into the final product, which allows for improved detection by liquid chromatographymass spectrometry in positive atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) mode. Palmitic and oleic acid derivatives show a 200-fold increase in sensitivity compared with the free acids when analyzed in negative-mode APCI. In addition to improving sensitivity, the oxazoline derivatization creates a similar ionization response for the fatty acids tested, which simplifies their quantitation. Fatty acid oxazoline derivatives can be detected using the same conditions optimized for the endocannabinoids, which allows for a simultaneous quantitation of the entire endocannabinoid metabolome.
Keywords: fatty acids, LC-MS, metabolome, oxazoline derivatives, microwave synthesis