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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Some fundamental and technical aspects of the quantitative analysis of pharmaceutical drugs by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry.

The purpose of the present paper was to study some of the underlying physical and technical aspects of high-throughput quantitative matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) of small drug molecules. A prototype MALDI-triple quadrupole instrument equipped with a high repetition rate laser was employed. Initially, the detection limits and dynamic ranges for the quantitation of four drugs (quinidine, danofloxacin, ramipril and nadolol) were determined. Internal standards were carefully chosen for each of these analytes in terms of structure similarity and fragmentation pathways. Three organic matrices were tested for these assays, resulting in different crystallization behaviors and measurement reproducibilities. alpha-Cyano-4-hydroxycinnamic acid yielded the best results and was subsequently employed for the quantitative determination of all four analytes. Further experiments considered the role of laser energy and pulse rate on the ablated areas as well as ion signals. Light microscope and scanning electron microscope images allowed the examination of the ablated area of the MALDI spots. The images showed convincing evidence that the ablated area was virtually void of crystals after analysis, with no preferential removal of material in the center of the laser's path. Average values for the amount of material ablated were determined to be 3.9+/-0.5% of the total spot size, and as low as 19.5 attomoles of analyte were detectable for our most sensitive analyte, ramipril. It was calculated that, under these assay conditions, it was possible to accurately quantify less than 1 femtomole of all analytes with the use of appropriately pure internal standards. These studies showed very promising results for the quantitative nature of MALDI for small molecules with molecular weights less than 500 Da.[1]


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