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J Mass Spectrom. 2005 Jun;40(6):821-31.

Structure elucidation of aplidine metabolites formed in vitro by human liver microsomes using triple quadrupole mass spectrometry.

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Utrecht University, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Department of Biomedical Analysis, Division of Drug Toxicology, Sorbonnelaan 16, 3584 CA Utrecht, The Netherlands.


The cyclic depsipeptide aplidine is a new anti-cancer drug of marine origin. Four metabolites of this compound were found after incubation with pooled human microsomes using gradient high-performance liquid chromatography with ultraviolet detection. After chromatographic isolation, the metabolites have been identified using nano-electrospray triple quadrupole mass spectrometry. A highly specific sodium-ion interaction with the cyclic structure opens the depsipeptide ring, and cleavage of the amino acid residues gives sequence information when activated by collision-induced dissociation in the second quadrupole. The aplidine molecule could undergo the following metabolic reactions: hydroxylation at the isopropyl group (metabolites apli-h 1 and apli-h 2); C-dealkylation at the N(Me)-leucine group (metabolite apli-da); hydroxylation at the isopropyl group and C-dealkylation at the N(Me)-leucine group (metabolite apli-da/h), and C-demethylation at the threonine group (metabolite apli-dm). The identification of these metabolites formed in vitro may greatly aid the elucidation of the metabolic pathways of aplidine in humans.

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