Simultaneous measurement of drug metabolic stability and identification of metabolites using ion-trap mass spectrometry

Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2003;17(23):2661-8. doi: 10.1002/rcm.1228.


The use of in vitro drug metabolism data in the understanding of in vivo pharmacokinetic, safety and toxicity data has become a large area of scientific interest. This has stemmed from a trend in the pharmaceutical industry to use in vitro data generated from human tissue as a criterion to select compounds for further investigation. As well as measuring metabolic stability in vitro using human liver microsomal preparations, the identification of possible metabolite(s) formed may play a vital role in Hit-to-Lead and Lead optimisation processes. The data-dependent scan function mode with the ion-trap instrumentation provides the ability to measure the metabolic stability and identification of possible metabolites of a compound. A gradient liquid chromatographic method with a run time of 6 min/injection was developed for this purpose. The approach of simultaneous metabolic stability measurements and rapid identification of metabolites of drugs with high (verapamil), medium (propranolol and cisapride) and low (flunarazine) metabolic stabilities using ion-trap mass spectrometry is described. The metabolites identified after 15 min incubation for verapamil, propranolol and cisapride are in good agreement with those reported as the major metabolites in human in vivo studies.