A microplate solid scintillation counter as a radioactivity detector for high performance liquid chromatography in drug metabolism: validation and applications

J Chromatogr A. 2006 Nov 10;1133(1-2):184-94. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2006.08.020. Epub 2006 Sep 12.


Sensitive radioactivity detection following high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) separation remains a challenge in many drug metabolism studies with radiolabeled compounds. In this work, solid scintillation counting (SSC) after fraction collection into 96-well plates was evaluated as an off-line radioactivity detection method, in comparison with conventional liquid scintillation counting (LSC). The impact of counting time and biological matrix on the quantification of radiolabeled metabolites and parent drug in samples from animal and human absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion (ADME) studies was investigated. Three different approaches were used to test whether reliable quantification by off-line SSC detection, which requires an approximately constant counting yield during the entire chromatographic run, can be realized: (i) the measurement of radioactivity-spiked biological blank samples without HPLC separation as an extreme case of biological background, (ii) the measurement of radioactivity-spiked HPLC fractions of biological blank samples and (iii) the comparison of radiochromatograms obtained by off-line SSC and LSC of real samples from ADME studies with radiolabeled compounds. Situations in which variations in SSC yield during an HPLC run are likely to lead to significant errors in quantitation were identified and are discussed. However, examples from a number of animal or human ADME studies showed that in the majority of cases off-line SSC provides very similar quantitative data, compared with the reference method of off-line LSC radioactivity detection. Approaches for validation of the off-line SSC approach in critical cases are discussed. The main advantages of off-line SSC, compared with off-line LSC, are lower detection limits and a substantially higher throughput. Several applications of off-line SSC detection in ADME studies are shown.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods*
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / analysis*
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / chemistry
  • Radioisotopes / analysis*
  • Radioisotopes / chemistry
  • Rats
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Scintillation Counting / methods*


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Radioisotopes