Determination of 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5- b]pyridine (PhIP) and its metabolite 2-hydroxyamino-PhIP by liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization-ion trap mass spectrometry

Anal Biochem. 2001 Nov 15;298(2):306-13. doi: 10.1006/abio.2001.5392.


2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP) is the most abundant heterocyclic aromatic amine found in cooked meat. It is metabolically activated by the human cytochrome P450 enzymes to form the carcinogenic metabolite N2-OH-PhIP. PhIP has been found to induce tumors in rats and is a suspected human carcinogen. In the present work, we have developed and validated a liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization/ion trap mass spectrometry (LC-ESI/ITMS) method for the determination of PhIP and N2-OH-PhIP. PhIP was incubated with microsomes prepared from the human liver; the PhIP and N2-OH-PhIP formed were isolated from the biomatrices by solid-phase extraction using C18 cartridges, with recoveries greater than 86%. Subsequently, the products were separated on a microbore reversed-phase C18 liquid chromatograph coupled to an ESI-ITMS. The ESI interface and the ITMS were tuned for various parameters, and data acquisition was performed in selective ion monitoring mode. The detection limit of PhIP and N2-OH-PhIP was 1 and 10 pg, respectively. The method is highly sensitive and selective, has simple sample preparation protocols, and should be applicable to the study of the metabolic activation of PhIP in various human tissues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods*
  • Humans
  • Imidazoles / analysis*
  • Imidazoles / metabolism
  • Microsomes, Liver / chemistry*
  • Mutagens / analysis*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / methods*


  • Imidazoles
  • Mutagens
  • 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo(4,5-b)pyridine