In this study, we investigated whether tacrolimus extracted and purified from the commercial capsules (Prograf® 5 mg) have retained its original quality and activity beyond the capsules expiration date in order to be reused for research purposes after extraction. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) assay method was developed and validated for the quantification of tacrolimus, using cyclosporine A as an internal standard (IS). Moreover, a combination of analytical methods, including nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), Fourier transform-infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) were used to assess the quality of extracted/purified tacrolimus. Suppression of murine peripheral-blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) proliferation and the levels of interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interferon gamma (IFN-γ) were also assessed. The data obtained showed no detectable differences in the quality profile between the authentic sample and extracted drug. Also, the results showed that the extracted/purified tacrolimus was able to suppress T cell proliferation, induced by concanavalin A, indicating the retained pharmacological activity. We proved that tacrolimus extracted/purified from expired Prograf® capsuled retains its purity and immunosuppressive activity and can be reused for research and possibly in pharmaceutical manufacturing.
Keywords: extraction; immunosuppression; purity; tacrolimus; validation.