Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Gabor Patonay, Ph.D. - Chair

Second Advisor

A.L. Baumstark, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

G. Davon Kennedy, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Gregg Pratt, Ph.D.


GnRH peptides have been discovered in a wide variety of vertebrate and invertebrate organisms, and work is ongoing to characterize additional unique isoforms. This dissertation describes the investigation of reversed-phase chromatographic and mass spectrometric behavior of GnRH peptides, the development and application of an LC-MS/MS method for qualitative identification of GnRH peptides, and the comprehensive validation of an LC-MS/MS method for simultaneous, quantitative measurement of hydroxyproline9GnRH (Hyp9GnRH) and mammalian GnRH (mGnRH) in rat brain tissues. Chromatographic and mass spectrometric behavior of GnRH isoforms was characterized for six GnRH model peptides. Using reversed-phase high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), nearly complete separation of the model GnRH peptides was achieved. Evaluation of electrospray source conditions indicated that certain parameters can be adjusted to affect the abundance of selected charge states and improve response. Using the conditions found to be optimal for GnRH peptides in general, a method was developed to facilitate characterization of novel GnRH isoforms or confirm the identity of known isoforms. Fragmentation patterns for six model GnRH isoforms were examined to determine what portion of the primary sequence could be elucidated by de novo sequencing, and a simple solid phase extraction protocol was developed to isolate the model GnRH compounds from tissue samples. Application of the method to rat brain samples resulted in successful isolation and structural confirmation of hydroxyproline9GnRH and mammalian GnRH. A quantitative method for the determination of concentrations of hydroxyproline9GnRH and mammalian GnRH in rat brain tissue was developed and rigorously validated. Guinea pig brains were found to be a suitable substitute matrix for rat brains, and accuracy and precision were determined after four validation runs. Stability of both peptides in samples over long-term storage and under experimental conditions were evaluated, and the LC-MS/MS method was compared to an enzyme-linked immunoassay. Thirty-one brains from Sprague-Dawley rats were analyzed using the LC-MS/MS procedure and compared to published results for Hyp9GnRH and mGnRH.

Included in

Chemistry Commons