High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry Elucidates Metabonate (False Metabolite) Formation from Alkylamine Drugs during In Vitro Metabolite Profiling.
ABSTRACT In vitro metabolite profiling and characterization experiments are widely employed in early drug development to support safety studies. Samples from incubations of investigational drugs with liver microsomes or hepatocytes are commonly analyzed by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry for detection and structural elucidation of metabolites. Advanced mass spectrometers with accurate mass capabilities are becoming increasingly popular for characterization of drugs and metabolites, spurring changes in the routine workflows applied. In the present study, using a generic full-scan high-resolution data acquisition approach with a time-of-flight mass spectrometer combined with postacquisition data mining, we detected and characterized metabonates (false metabolites) in microsomal incubations of several alkylamine drugs. If a targeted approach to mass spectrometric detection (without full-scan acquisition and appropriate data mining) were employed, the metabonates may not have been detected, hence their formation underappreciated. In the absence of accurate mass data, the metabonate formation would have been incorrectly characterized because the detected metabonates manifested as direct cyanide-trapped conjugates or as cyanide-trapped metabolites formed from the parent drugs by the addition of 14 Da, the mass shift commonly associated with oxidation to yield a carbonyl. This study demonstrates that high-resolution mass spectrometry and the associated workflow is very useful for the detection and characterization of unpredicted sample components and that accurate mass data were critical to assignment of the correct metabonate structures. In addition, for drugs containing an alkylamine moiety, the results suggest that multiple negative controls and chemical trapping agents may be necessary to correctly interpret the results of in vitro experiments.