Catecholamines Extracted From Urine Samples


Scientists from Hunan University of Chinese Medicine and Zhengzhou University in Zhengzhou, China, recently created a new system for extracting catecholamines (CAs) in urine samples. Their work was published in the Journal of Separation Science (1).

Hand holding urine sample container for medical urinalysis | Image Credit: © Дмитрий Сидор -

Hand holding urine sample container for medical urinalysis | Image Credit: © Дмитрий Сидор -

Catecholamines are biogenic amines that can be present in the human body as either neurotransmitters or hormones. They can be involved with many types of processes, such as integrating thoughts with movement and speech, emotional tone, mood, and appetite, among many others. They typically exist in plasma, but they can be found in different states, including urine. Using the most favorable conditions, the CAs in urine samples were analyzed using a combination of magnetic solid-phase extraction (SPE) conditions with high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) detection.

For this process, they created a magnetic borate-functionalized MXene composite with multiple boronic affinity sits, which served as the sorbent for this process. The MXene composite was created by embedding Fe3O4 nanoparticles with 4-formylphenylboronic acid functionalized Ti3C2Tx nanosheets. Additionally, the magnetic materials had their morphology and structure investigated using scanning microscopy, a vibrating sample magnetometer, an X-ray photoelectron spectrometer, and X-ray diffraction (XRD).

Polyethyleneimine was added for the process because it could amplify the bonded boronic acid groups and improve the CAs’ adsorption capacities based on different interactions between boronic affinity, hydrogen bonding, and metal coordination. The adsorption performance was evaluated using kinetics and isotherms models, and the parameters that influence extraction efficiency were optimized.

After the experiment, the data illustrated that the approach had a wide linearity range (0.05–250 ng/mL) with an acceptable correlation coefficient (R2 ≥ 0.9984) and a detection limit range of 0.010–0.015 ng/mL for target CAs. This bolstered the scientists’ belief in their system. In their eyes, their research provides a notable composite with multiple boronic affinity sites, in addition to offering an effective measure for detecting CAs in biological samples.


(1) Yang, C.; Hu, K.; Zhao, Y.; Liu, X.; Li, L.; Zeng, H.; Zhang, Z.; Zhang, S. Preparation of branched polyethyleneimine-assisted boronic acid-functionalized magnetic MXene for the enrichment of catecholamines in urine samples. J. Sep. Sci. 2023, 2300620. DOI:

(2) Gurwitz, B. Catecholamine. ScienceDirect 2022. (accessed 2023-1-8)

Related Videos
Related Content