Glycosylation of aromatic amines I: Characterization of reaction products and kinetic scheme

AAPS PharmSciTech. 2009;10(2):317-28. doi: 10.1208/s12249-009-9209-2. Epub 2009 Mar 21.


The reactions of aliphatic and aromatic amines with reducing sugars are important in both drug stability and synthesis. The formation of glycosylamines in solution, the first step in the Maillard reaction, does not typically cause browning but results in decreased potency and is hence significant from the aspect of drug instability. The purpose of this research was to present (1) unreported ionic equilibria of model reactant (kynurenine), (2) the analytical methods used to characterize and measure reaction products, (3) the kinetic scheme used to measure reaction rates and (4) relevant properties of various reducing sugars that impact the reaction rate in solution. The methods used to identify the reversible formation of two products from the reaction of kynurenine and monosaccharides included LC mass spectrometry, UV spectroscopy, and 1-D and 2-D (1)H-(1)H COSY NMR spectroscopy. Kinetics was studied using a stability-indicating HPLC method. The results indicated the formation of alpha and beta glycosylamines by a pseudo first-order reversible reaction scheme in the pH range of 1-6. The forward reaction was a function of initial glucose concentration but not the reverse reaction. It was concluded that the reaction kinetics and equilibrium concentrations of the glycosylamines were pH-dependent and also a function of the acyclic content of the reacting glucose isomer.

MeSH terms

  • Glucose / chemistry*
  • Glycosylation
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Kinetics
  • Kynurenine / chemistry*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Spectrophotometry, Ultraviolet


  • Kynurenine
  • Glucose