This paper presents the comparison between 12 hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography columns that are commercially available. The main factors influencing the retention and selectivity toward 12 neurotransmitters for these different HILIC systems have been studied. For additional information, the retention data have been analyzed statistically by factor analysis. Principal component analyses (PCA) were calculated to evidence different separation behaviour between the stationary phases, based on the retention data measured for three compound classes: anionic acidic compounds, cationic basic compounds and zwitterionic amino acids. Finally, a generic procedure is suggested for optimization of HILIC analyses, depending on the ionization state of the analytes.
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