Use of high-resolution mass spectrometry to investigate a metabolite interference during liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometric quantification of a small molecule in toxicokinetic study samples.Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2010 Jul 15; 24(13):1902-10.RC
During routine liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometric (LC/MS/MS) bioanalysis of a small molecule analyte in rat serum samples from a toxicokinetic study, an unexpected interfering peak was observed in the extracted ion chromatogram of the internal standard. No interfering peaks were observed in the extracted ion chromatogram of the analyte. The dose-dependent peak area response and peak area response versus time profiles of the interfering peak suggested that it might have been related to a metabolite of the dosed compound. Further investigation using high-resolution mass spectrometry led to unequivocal identification of the interfering peak as an N-desmethyl metabolite of the parent analyte. High-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) was also used to demonstrate that the interfering response of the metabolite in the multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) channel of the internal standard was due to an isobaric relationship between the (13)C-isotope of the metabolite and the internal standard (i.e., common precursor ion mass), coupled with a metabolite product ion with identical mass to the product ion used in the MRM transition of the internal standard. These results emphasize (1) the need to carefully evaluate internal standard candidates with regard to potential interferences from metabolites during LC/MS/MS method development, validation and bioanalysis of small molecule analytes in biological matrices; (2) the value of HRMS as a tool to investigate unexpected interferences encountered during LC/MS/MS analysis of small molecules in biological matrices; and (3) the potential for interference regardless of choice of IS and therefore the importance of conducting assay robustness on incurred in vitro or in vivo study samples.