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Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2010 Oct 30;24(20):3043-51. doi: 10.1002/rcm.4740.

High-performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometric and proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopic studies of the transacylation and hydrolysis of the acyl glucuronides of a series of phenylacetic acids in buffer and human plasma.

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Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK10 4TG, UK.


The use of high-performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (HPLC/MS) and proton nuclear magnetic resonance ((1)H NMR) spectroscopy for the kinetic analysis of acyl glucuronide (AG) isomerisation and hydrolysis of the 1-β-O-acyl glucuronides (1-β-O-AG) of phenylacetic acid, (R)- and (S)-α-methylphenylacetic acid and α,α-dimethylphenylacetic acid is described and compared. Each AG was incubated in both aqueous buffer, at pH 7.4, and control human plasma at 37°C. Aliquots of these incubations, taken throughout the reaction time-course, were analysed by HPLC/MS and (1)H NMR spectroscopy. In buffer, transacylation reactions predominated, with relatively little hydrolysis to the free aglycone observed. In human plasma incubations the calculated rates of reaction were much faster than for buffer and, in contrast to the observations in buffer, hydrolysis to the free aglycone was a significant contributor to the overall reaction.A diagnostic analytical methodology based on differential mass spectrometric fragmentation of 1-β-O-AGs compared to the 2-, 3- and 4-positional isomers, which enables selective determination of the former, was confirmed and applied. These findings show that HPLC/MS offers a viable alternative to the more commonly used NMR spectroscopic approach for the determination of the transacylation and hydrolysis reactions of these AGs, with the major advantage of having the capability to do so in a complex biological matrix such as plasma.

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