A new analytical method for the quantitation of the orally active immunomodulatory drug FTY720 and its phosphate derivative in human plasma and murine subcellular compartments has been developed. The samples undergo a liquid-liquid extraction process before they are injected into a liquid chromatographic system coupled to a tandem mass spectrometer operating in positive ion mode. The quantitation is based on the analysis of two multiple reaction monitoring transitions per drug. The recovery of the analytical process is around 80% for all analytes. Intra- and interday precision and accuracy, as relative standard deviation and relative error, respectively, are lower than 12.5% in all cases. No important matrix effects were observed. The lower limits of quantitation for the analysed substances were 0.875 ng/mL and 2 ng/mL for FTY720 and FTY720-phosphate, respectively. Since no deuterated derivatives of the analytes were commercially available, the developed method was applied for quantifying the studied compounds using C17-sphingosine and C-17-sphingosine-1-phosphate as internal standards, in subcellular compartments of murine splenocytes. This method could be applied in the future for monitoring purposes in multiple sclerosis patients, since FTY720 has been approved by the American Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency for the pharmacological treatment of this disease.
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