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NMR Biomed. 2012 Nov;25(11):1217-23. doi: 10.1002/nbm.2791. Epub 2012 Mar 8.

Combined use of filtered and edited 1 H NMR spectroscopy to detect 13 C-enriched compounds in complex mixtures.

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Syngenta, Jealott's Hill Research Centre, Bracknell, RG42 6EY, UK.


In conventional metabolism and pharmacokinetic studies, radioactive isotopes are used to identify and quantify the breakdown products of xenobiotics. However, the stable isotope (13) C provides a cheaper and less hazardous alternative. Metabolites of (13) C-enriched xenobiotics can be detected, quantified and identified by (13) C-filtered NMR spectroscopy. However, one obstacle to using (13) C is its 1.1% natural abundance that produces a background signal in (13) C-filtered NMR spectra of crude biological extracts. The signal makes it difficult to distinguish between (13) C-enriched xenobiotics resonances from endogenous metabolites unrelated to the xenobiotic. This study proposes that the (13) C background signal can be distinguished from resonances of (13) C-enriched xenobiotics by the absence of a (12) C component in the xenobiotic. This is detected by combined analysis of (13) C-filtered and -edited NMR spectra. The theory underlying the approach is described and the method is demonstrated by the detection of sub-microgram amounts of (13) C-enriched phenacetin in crude extracts of hepatocyte microsomes.

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