Direct plasma sample injection in multiple-component LC-MS-MS assays for high-throughput pharmacokinetic screening

Anal Chem. 2000 Jan 1;72(1):61-7. doi: 10.1021/ac990769y.


The simultaneous dosing of numerous compounds followed by multiple-component analysis using LC-MS-MS (the N-in-1 approach) has significantly improved the throughput of the drug-screening process. However, plasma samples still need to be extracted before LC-MS-MS analysis, which frequently limits the throughput of the assay. In this work, a high-throughput on-line extraction technique has been developed for multiple-component LC-MS-MS assays using a high-flow column-switching technique. In N-in-1 LC-MS-MS assays, high sensitivity is required since the dose level is generally reduced to minimize drug-drug interactions. In addition, good chromatographic separation is essential to minimize interference and suppression effects. The direct plasma sample injection method developed in this work has successfully met the two requirements for multiple-component LC-MS-MS assays in high-throughput pharmacokinetic screening. Plasma samples containing a large number of potential drug candidates were directly injected onto an extraction column operated under a flow rate sufficiently high to exhibit a turbulent-flow profile. The extracted analytes were then eluted onto an analytical column via column switching for LC-MS-MS analysis. The use of turbulent flow resulted in a faster and more rugged extraction with reduced carryover compared with results obtained under laminar-flow conditions. Meanwhile, the use of a column-switching method maintained the chromatographic resolving power and high sensitivity of the LC-MS-MS assay. Separation efficiency, dynamic range, accuracy, and precision comparable with those of solid-phase extraction have been achieved with the turbulent-flow column-switching technique. As a result, this technique has been successfully and routinely used for high-throughput pharmacokinetic screening.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Chemical Analysis / methods*
  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods
  • Dogs
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Pan troglodytes
  • Pharmacokinetics*