A "heart-cut" two-dimensional achiral-chiral liquid chromatography triple-quadrupole mass spectrometry method (LC-LC-MS/MS) was developed and coupled to in vivo cerebral microdialysis to evaluate the brain response to the chiral compound (±)-7-chloro-5-(3-furanyl)-3-methyl-3,4-dihydro-2H-1,2,4-benzothiadiazine-1,1-dioxide ((±)-1), a potent positive allosteric modulator (PAM) of AMPA receptor. The method was successfully employed to evaluate also its stereoselective metabolism and in vitro biological activity. In particular, the LC achiral method developed, employs a pentafluorinated silica based column (Discovery HS-F5) to separate dopamine, acetylcholine, serotonin, (±)-1 and its two hepatic metabolites. In the "heart-cut" two-dimension achiral-chiral configuration, (±)-1 and (±)-1-d4 eluted from the achiral column (1st dimension), were transferred to a polysaccharide-based chiral column (2nd dimension, Chiralcel OD-RH) by using an automatic six-port valve. Single enantiomers of (±)-1 were separated and detected using electrospray positive ionization mode and quantified in selected reaction monitoring mode. The method was validated and showed good performance in terms of linearity, accuracy and precision. The new method employed showed several possible applications in the evaluation of: (a) brain response to neuroactive compounds by measuring variations in the brain extracellular levels of selected neurotransmitters and other biomarkers; (b) blood brain barrier penetration of drug candidates by measuring the free concentration of the drug in selected brain areas; (c) the presence of drug metabolites in the brain extracellular fluid that could prove very useful during drug discovery; (d) a possible stereoselective metabolization or blood brain barrier stereoselective crossing of chiral drugs. Finally, compared to the methods reported in the literature, this technique avoids the necessity of euthanizing an animal at each time point to measure drug concentration in whole brain tissue and provides continuous monitoring of extracellular concentrations of single chiral drug enantiomers along with its metabolites in specific brain regions at each selected time point for a desired period by using a single animal.
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