American Chemical Society
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Study of the Fragmentation Mechanism of Protonated 6-Hydroxychlorzoxazone:  Application in Simultaneous Analysis of CYP2E1 Activity with Major Human Cytochrome P450s

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journal contribution
posted on 2003-01-03, 00:00 authored by M. Reza Anari, Ray Bakhtiar, Ronald B. Franklin, Paul G. Pearson, Thomas A. Baillie
The application of liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry for simultaneous analysis of major human cytochrome P450 activities via a single atmospheric pressure ionization (API) LC/MS/MS method has been hampered by the preferred detection of 6-hydroxychlorzoxazone (HCZ), the metabolite of the CYP2E1 probe, chlorzoxazone, under negative API. An initial simulation of the dissociation constants suggested the potential ionization of the enol form of HCZ at low pH, and the accurate mass measurements confirmed the presence of the protonated HCZ signal under (+) ESI at pH 3. However, the CID spectrum of the protonated HCZ resulted in a few intense, but uncommon, fragment ions that could be utilized for specific selected reaction monitoring (SRM) transitions. The deduced elemental compositions of these fragment ions indicated possible aromatic ring opening for the first two intense product ions at m/z 130 and 115, as well as chlorine radical loss for the third ion at m/z 151. Further precursor and product ion scan studies, along with the deuterium ion exchange in solution, revealed the involvement of three distinct pathways of fragmentation. The m/z 186 → 130 transition, which was shown to be specific in human plasma and rat hepatic microsomes, was further combined with the SRM transition of reserpine (internal standard) and eight probe substrates for human cytochrome P450 isoforms. This led to the development of a full LC/MS/MS method capable of analyzing a total of nine human P450 activities within 3 min, including CYP2E1, using a single assay in the (+) ESI mode. The HCZ assay showed excellent linearity with a coefficient of determination (R2) greater than 0.98 at dynamic range of 0.05 (LOQ) to 40 μM. Preliminary data from the three-day validation of the HCZ assay indicated that the accuracy and precision for quality control samples was within ±15% of the spiked concentration at all levels.