Journal of Chromatography B (v.878, #20)

Endogenous ethanolamides (fatty acid amides), including arachidonyl ethanolamide (anandamide, AEA), oleoyl ethanolamide (OEA), and palmitoyl ethanolamide (PEA), are substrates of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH). FAAH may play an important role for pain, anxiety/depression, and metabolic disorders. Ethanolamides are considered to be potential pharmacodynamic biomarkers to determine target engagement for FAAH inhibition by novel pharmaceutical agents. A highly selective, sensitive, and high-throughput liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS) method was developed and validated for simultaneous quantitation of AEA, OEA, and PEA in human plasma. The method employed D4-AEA, D4-OEA, and 13C2-PEA as “surrogate analytes” to establish the concentration–mass response relationship, i.e. a regression equation. The concentrations of AEA, OEA, and PEA were calculated based on the regression equations derived from the surrogate analytes. This approach made it possible to prepare calibration standard and quality control (QC) samples in plasma devoid of interferences from the endogenous analytes. The analytical methodology required 150 μL of human plasma that was processed via liquid–liquid extraction (LLE) using a 96-well plate format. Chromatographic separation was achieved with a reversed-phase high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) column using gradient elution, and the run time was 3 min. The method was fully validated and it demonstrated acceptable accuracy, precision, linearity, and specificity. The lower limit of quantitation (LLOQ) was 0.1/0.5/0.5 ng/mL for AEA/OEA/PEA, which was sensitive enough to capture the basal plasma levels in healthy subjects. Bench-top stability in plasma, freeze–thaw stability in plasma, frozen long-term stability in plasma, autosampler stability, and stock solution stability all met acceptance criteria (%Bias within ±12.0%). Characterization of stability in purchased/aged blood indicated that ethanolamides are subject to degradation mediated by intracellular membrane-bound FAAH, which has been shown to be inhibited by phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride (PMSF). In the presence of PMSF, ethanolamide levels increased slightly over time, suggesting that blood cells release ethanolamides into plasma. Whole blood stability conducted in fresh blood immediately following collection revealed that there was significant elevation of ethanolamide concentrations (∼1.3–2.0-fold on ice and ∼1.5–3.0-fold at room temperature by 2 h), indicating that de novo synthesis and release from blood cells were the predominant factors affecting ethanolamide concentrations ex vivo. Accordingly, conditions that ensured rapid separation of plasma from blood cells and consistency in the blood harvesting procedures were established and implemented for clinical studies to minimize the ex vivo elevation of plasma ethanolamide concentrations. The variability (intra-subject and inter-subject) of plasma ethanolamide levels was evaluated in healthy subjects during a Phase 0 study (no drug administration) that simulated the design of single-ascending dose and multiple-ascending dose clinical trials in terms of sample collection time points, population, food, and activity. The data indicated there was relatively large inter- and intra-subject variation in plasma ethanolamide concentrations. In addition, apparent variations due to time of day and/or food effects were also revealed. Understanding the variability of ethanolamide levels in humans is very important for study design and data interpretation when changes in ethanolamide levels are used as target engagement biomarkers in clinical trials.
Keywords: Biomarker; Quantitation; LC–MS/MS; Ethanolamides; Fatty acid amide hydrolase;

Solid-phase extraction of tramadol from plasma and urine samples using a novel water-compatible molecularly imprinted polymer by Mehran Javanbakht; Abdol Mohammad Attaran; Mohammad Hadi Namjumanesh; Mehdi Esfandyari-Manesh; Behrouz Akbari-adergani (1700-1706).
In this study, a novel method is described for the determination of tramadol in biological fluids using molecularly imprinted solid-phase extraction (MISPE) as the sample clean-up technique combined with high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The water-compatible molecularly imprinted polymers (MIPs) were prepared using methacrylic acid as functional monomer, ethylene glycol dimethacrylate as cross-linker, chloroform as porogen and tramadol as template molecule. The novel imprinted polymer was used as a solid-phase extraction (SPE) sorbent for the extraction of tramadol from human plasma and urine. Various parameters affecting the extraction efficiency of the polymer have been evaluated. The optimal conditions for the MIP cartridges were studied. The MIP selectivity was evaluated by checking several substances with similar molecular structures to that of tramadol. The limit of detection (LOD) and limit of quantification (LOQ) for tramadol in urine samples were 1.2 and 3.5 μg L−1, respectively. These limits for tramadol in plasma samples were 3.0 and 8.5 μg L−1, respectively. The recoveries for plasma and urine samples were higher than 91%.
Keywords: Molecularly imprinted polymer; Solid-phase extraction; Tramadol; Plasma; Urine;

This study examined the use of affinity microcolumns as tools for the rapid analysis and high-throughput screening of drug–protein binding. The protein used was immobilized human serum albumin (HSA) and the model analytes were warfarin and l-tryptophan, two solutes often used as site-specific probes for drug binding to Sudlow sites I and II of HSA, respectively. The use of HSA microcolumns in binding studies was examined by using both zonal elution and frontal analysis formats. The zonal elution studies were conducted by injecting the probe compounds onto HSA microcolumns of varying lengths while measuring the resulting retention factors, plate heights and peak asymmetries. A decrease in the retention factor was noted when moving from longer to shorter column lengths while using a constant amount of injected solute. However, this change could be corrected, in part, by determining the relative retention factor of a solute versus a reference compound injected onto the same microcolumn. The plate height values were relatively consistent for all column lengths and gave an expected increase at higher linear velocities. The peak asymmetries were similar for all columns up to 1 mL/min but shifted to larger values at higher flow rates and when using short microcolumns (e.g., 1 mm length). The association equilibrium constants and number of binding sites estimated by frontal analysis for warfarin with HSA were consistent at the various column sizes that were tested and gave good agreement with previous literature values. These results confirmed affinity microcolumns provide comparable results to those obtained with longer columns and can be used in the rapid analysis of drug–protein binding and in the high-throughput screening of such interactions.
Keywords: High-performance affinity chromatography; Affinity microcolumn; Frontal affinity chromatography; Frontal analysis; Zonal elution; Human serum albumin; Tryptophan; Warfarin; High-throughput screening; Drug–protein binding;

The HIV reverse transcriptase (RT) is an important antiviral target for the chemotherapy of AIDS because of its key role in virus replication. Nevirapine is a first generation of non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs), which is usually used for the therapy of AIDS. In this study, a high-performance analytical method based on capillary electrophoresis (CE) to investigate interactions between HIV RT and nevirapine was developed. Samples containing HIV RT and nevirapine at various ratios were incubated at 37 °C for 45 min and then separated by CE with Tris–acetate buffer at pH 7.3 containing 0.15% SDS. Both qualitative and quantitative characterizations of the binding were determined by CE for the first time. The binding constants of the interactions between HIV RT and nevirapine were calculated as (3.25 ± 0.16) × 104 and (1.25 ± 0.07) × 102  M−1 by Scatchard analysis. HIV RT and nevirapine have two binding sites. The presented methodology should be generally applicable to study the interactions between HIV RT and nevirapine quantitatively and qualitatively.
Keywords: HIV reverse transcriptase; Nevirapine; Binding constant; Capillary electrophoresis;

Rapid determination of finasteride in human plasma by UPLC–MS/MS and its application to clinical pharmacokinetic study by Prasad B. Phapale; Hae Won Lee; Mi-sun Lim; Eun-Hee Kim; Sung-Doo Kim; Jeonghyeon Park; Miran Lee; Sung-Kyu Hwang; Young-Ran Yoon (1718-1723).
A rapid, specific, and sensitive method utilizing reversed-phase ultra-performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC–MS/MS) was developed and validated to determine finasteride levels in human plasma. The plasma samples were prepared by liquid–liquid extraction with ethyl acetate, evaporation, and reconstitution. MS/MS analyses were performed on a triple–quadrupole tandem mass spectrometer by monitoring protonated parent → daughter ion pairs at m/z 373 → 305 for finasteride and m/z 237 → 194 for carbamazepine (internal standard, IS). The method was validated with respect to linearity, recovery, specificity, accuracy, precision, and stability. The method exhibited a linear response from 0.1 to 30 ng/mL (r 2  > 0.998). The limit of quantitation for finasteride in plasma was 0.1 ng/mL. The relative standard deviation (RSD) of intra- and inter-day measurements was less than 15% and the method was accurate within −6.0% to 2.31% at all quality-control levels. The mean extraction recovery was higher than 83% for finasteride and 84% for the IS. Plasma samples containing finasteride were stable under the three sets of conditions tested and the processed samples were stable up to 29 h in an autosampler at 5 °C. Detection and quantitation of both analytes within 3 min make this method suitable for high-throughput analyses. The method was successfully applied to a pharmacokinetic study of finasteride in healthy volunteers following oral administration.
Keywords: UPLC–MS/MS; Finasteride; Human plasma; Pharmacokinetic study; Method validation;