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Wednesday 01 December 2004

Increasing throughput and information content for in vitro drug metabolism experiments using ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled to a quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometer.

By: Castro-Perez J, Plumb R, Granger JH, Beattie I, Joncour K, Wright A.

Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom 2005;19(6):843-8

The field of drug metabolism has been revolutionized by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) applications with new technologies such as triple quadrupoles, ion traps and time-of-flight (ToF) instrumentation. Over the years, these developments have often relied on the improvements to the mass spectrometer hardware and software, which has allowed users to benefit from lower levels of detection and ease-of-use. One area in which the development pace has been slower is in high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). In the case of metabolite identification, where there are many challenges due to the complex nature of the biological matrices and the diversity of the metabolites produced, there is a need to obtain the most accurate data possible. Reactive or toxic metabolites need to be detected and identified as early as possible in the drug discovery process, in order to reduce the very costly attrition of compounds in late-phase development. High-resolution, exact mass measurement plays a very important role in metabolite identification because it allows the elimination of false positives and the determination of non-trivial metabolites in a much faster throughput environment than any other standard current methodology available to this field. By improving the chromatographic resolution, increased peak capacity can be achieved with a reduction in the number of co-eluting species leading to superior separations. The overall enhancement in the chromatographic resolution and peak capacity is transferred into a net reduction in ion suppression leading to an improvement in the MS sensitivity. To investigate this, a number of in vitro samples were analyzed using an ultra-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) system, with columns packed with porous 1.7 mum particles, coupled to a hybrid quadrupole time-of-flight (ToF) mass spectrometer. This technique showed very clear examples for fundamental gains in sensitivity, chromatographic resolution and speed of analysis, which are all important factors for the demands of today's HTS in discovery. Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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