An improved method to synthesize the highly abundant and biomedically important urinary metabolite 3-(3-hydroxyphenyl)-3-hydroxypropionic acid (HPHPA) is reported. The modified protocol is based on an indium-mediated sonochemical Reformatsky reaction. The synthesis is a simple two-step route as opposed to a complex four-step route previously reported in the literature that requires specialized equipment, flammable materials, and high-pressure reaction vessels. The described procedure also provides an expedient route to prepare a 13C isotopically labeled HPHPA that can be used as a standard for quantitative LC-MS analysis. This report also illustrates how the synthesized metabolite standard was used to detect and accurately quantify its presence in human urine samples using both NMR and LC-MS techniques.
Keywords: HPHPA; Reformatsky reaction; biomarker; isotopic labeling; sonication.