Sample preparation and quantification of polar drug, allopurinol, in human plasma using LCMSMS

Eur J Mass Spectrom (Chichester). 2022 Feb;28(1-2):35-46. doi: 10.1177/14690667221105837. Epub 2022 Jun 6.


A fast, selective and reproducible LC-MS/MS method with simple sample preparation was developed and validated for a polar compound, allopurinol in human plasma, using acyclovir as internal standard (IS). Chromatographic separation was achieved using Agilent Poroshell 120 EC-C18 (100 × 2.1 mmID, 2.7 µm) analytical column. The mobile phase was comprised of 0.1%v/v formic acid-methanol (95:05; v/v), at a flow rate of 0.45 mL/min. The effect of different protein precipitation agents used in sample preparation such as methanol, acetonitrile, a mixture of acetonitrile-methanol and a mixture of acetonitrile-acetone were evaluated to optimize the extraction efficiency of allopurinol and IS. The use of acetone-acetonitrile (50:50, v/v) as protein precipitating agent shortened the sample preparation time and improved the recovery of allopurinol to above 93%. The IS-normalised matrix factors at two concentration levels were 1.0, with CV of 5.1% and 4.2%. Allopurinol in plasma was stable at benchtop for 24 h, in autosampler tray for 48 h, in instrumentation room for 48 h, in freezer after 7 freeze-thaw cycles and in freezer for 140 days. Allopurinol stock standard solutions were stable for 140 days at room temperature and in the chiller. The short sample run time of the validated bioanalytical method allowed high throughput analysis of plasma samples in pharmacokinetic study of an allopurinol formulation. The robustness and reproducibility of the bioanalytical method was reaffirmed through incurred sample reanalysis (ISR).

Keywords: acetone-acetonitrile solvent mixtures; allopurinol; human plasma; pharmacokinetic study; polar drug; recovery.

MeSH terms

  • Acetone
  • Acetonitriles
  • Allopurinol*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods
  • Humans
  • Methanol
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry* / methods


  • Acetonitriles
  • Acetone
  • Allopurinol
  • Methanol