Simultaneous quantitative determination of bupropion and its three major metabolites in human umbilical cord plasma and placental tissue using high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry

J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2012 Nov;70:320-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpba.2012.05.008. Epub 2012 May 23.


A liquid chromatography in tandem with electro-spray ionization mass spectrometry method has been developed and validated for the quantitative determination of bupropion and its major metabolites (hydroxybupropion, threo- and erythrohydrobupropion) in human umbilical cord plasma and placental tissue. The samples were acidified with trichloroacetic acid, and protein precipitated by adding acetonitrile. Chromatographic separation of drug and metabolites was achieved by using a Waters Symmetry C(18) column, with an isocratic elution of 31% methanol and 69% formic acid (0.04%, v/v) aqueous solution at a flow rate of 1.0 mL/min. Detection was carried out by mass spectrometry using positive electro-spray ionization mode, and the compounds were monitored using multiple reactions monitoring method. Deuterium-labeled isotopes of the compounds were used as internal standards. Calibration curves were linear (r(2)>0.99) in the tested ranges. The lower limit of quantification of analytes in umbilical cord plasma samples is <0.72 ng/mL and 0.92 ng/g in placental tissue samples. The relative deviation of this method was <15% for intra- and inter-day assays, and the accuracy ranged between 88% and 105%. The extraction recovery of the four analytes ranged between 89% and 96% in umbilical cord plasma, and 64% and 80% in placental tissue. No significant matrix effect was observed in the presented method.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Acetonitriles / chemistry
  • Biotransformation
  • Buffers
  • Bupropion / analogs & derivatives
  • Bupropion / analysis*
  • Bupropion / blood
  • Calibration
  • Chemical Precipitation
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid* / standards
  • Drug Stability
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / chemistry*
  • Formates / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Hydroxylation
  • Limit of Detection
  • Linear Models
  • Methanol / chemistry
  • Placenta / chemistry*
  • Pregnancy
  • Reference Standards
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry* / standards


  • Acetonitriles
  • Buffers
  • Formates
  • hydrobupropion
  • Bupropion
  • formic acid
  • Methanol
  • acetonitrile