Determination of plasma lactic acid concentration and specific activity using high-performance liquid chromatography

B. Bleiberg, J. J. Steinberg, S. D. Katz, J. Wexler, T. LeJemtel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Assessment of lactate metabolism is of particular interest during exercise and in disease states such as diabetes, shock, and absorptive abnormalities of short-chain fatty acids by the colon. We describe an analytical method that introduces radio-active tracers and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to simultaneously analyze concentrations and specific activities (SAs) of plasma lactate. The HPLC conditions included separation on a reversed-phase column (octadecylsilane) and an isocratic buffer (30% acetonitrile in water). [3H]Acetate served as an internal standard. Lactate and acetate were extracted from plasma samples with diethyl ether following a pH adjustment to less than 1.0 and back-extracted into a hydrophilic phase with sodium carbonate (2 mM, pH > 10.0). Lactate is detected in the ultraviolet range (242 and 320 nm) by derivatization with α-bromoacetophenone. Control plasma samples were studied after an overnight fast for precision and analytical recovery. Calibration curves were linear in the range 0.18-6.0 mM (r=0.92). The precision was 3% and the analytical recovery was 87%. The detection limit of the method was 36 pmol. Determination of lactate metabolism was performed in a patient with chronic congestive heart failure who was administered primed-continuous l-[U-14C]lactate (10 μCi bolus and 0.3 μCi/min continuously) during a 60-min rest period. Mean arterial lactate concentration and SA were 1.69 ± 0.2 mM and 253.8 ± 22 dpm/μmol, respectively. Systemic lactate turnover was 25.65 μmol/kg per min. Lactic acid systemic turnover, organ uptake and release rates can be accurately determined by isocratic HPLC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-308
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Chromatography B: Biomedical Sciences and Applications
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 23 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry


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