Direct characterization of drug glucuronide isomers in human urine by HPLC-NMR spectroscopy: application to the positional isomers of 6,11-dihydro-11-oxodibenz[b,e]oxepin-2-acetic acid glucuronide

Anal Chem. 1996 Sep 1;68(17):2832-7. doi: 10.1021/ac951228l.


In this work, 400 and 600 MHz 1H HPLC-NMR spectroscopic methods were developed and applied to separate and identify the positional glucuronide isomers and anomers of the model nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug, 6,11-dihydro-11-oxodibenz[b,e]oxepin-2-acetic acid, in whole human urine. The HPLC methods utilized either an isocratic system, comprising 30% acetonitrile in water at pH 2.5, or a gradient elution system increasing from 30% to 60% acetonitrile, in order to achieve improved separation of the 2-, 3-, and 4-O-acylglucuronide isomers from the faster eluting endogenous urinary metabolites. Directly coupled stop-flow 1H HPLC-NMR spectroscopic measurements were made at the retention times indicated by the UV-monitored chromatographic peaks. The glucuronide isomers were identified from the 1H NMR spectra on the basis of their chemical shifts and spin-spin coupling patterns. The elution order was 4-O-acyl-, 3-O-acyl-, and finally 2-O-acylglucuronide, with tR values of 10.04, 11.68, and 12.64 min, respectively. Although the alpha- and beta-anomers of each of the positional isomers could not be separated in these solvent systems, they could be identified in the individual 1H NMR spectra. This work shows for the first time that directly coupled HPLC-NMR spectroscopy can be used directly to isolate and characterize acyl-migrated isomers of drug glucuronides in whole urine. This approach will be of value in the study of glucuronide acyl migration reactions of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs and other xenobiotic ester glucuronides in whole biofluids.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / urine*
  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / urine*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Glucuronates / urine*
  • Humans
  • Isomerism
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Male


  • Acetates
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Glucuronates
  • isoxepac glucuronide