Special Issues-05-01-2016

A newly discovered method is described for generating gas-phase ions from volatile and nonvolatile compounds. The method, matrix-assisted ionization (MAI), is both simple and sensitive, requiring only the vacuum inherent with all mass spectrometers and a suitable matrix, eliminating the need for lasers, electric fields, nebulizing gas, and even heaters to generate gas-phase ions. MAI is applicable for the direct analysis of drugs from biological fluids and tissue without prior purification. By placing matrix only on a specific surface area of interest and exposure to the vacuum of the mass spectrometer, ions are observed from compounds within the targeted surface area of tissue exposed to the matrix solution, thus allowing rapid and simple interrogation of “features of interest.” The limit of detection for drug standards is low attomoles and clean full mass range mass spectra are obtained from low femtomoles of the drug.

The purpose of this study was the development of various analytical MS methods to investigate the chemical composition of e-liquids used in electronic cigarettes and characterize their quality. Low-quality nicotine (the main active compound), glycerol, propylene glycol (solvents), or flavors could greatly increase the toxicity. The search of alkaloid contaminants of nicotine was performed by LC–MS-MS after a deep study of fragmentation pathways by high resolution ESI-MS. A fully validated method for quantitation of organic polar impurities such as cotinine, anabasine, myosmine, nornicotine, and N-nitroso-nornicotine and nicotine itself was developed using MS coupled to UHPLC. To evaluate organic volatile toxicants, headspace from e-cigarette refill liquids was sampled by SPME to perform GC–MS analysis. Finally, heavy metal residues as inorganic toxicants were determined by ICP-MS after simple dilution. A number of cases of contamination by metals (mainly arsenic) was detected.

We have developed a range of analytical workflows using mass spectrometry, in a regulated environment, to support pharmaceutical companies in the development and control of their monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs). High-resolution mass spectrometry is a powerful tool for the analysis of antibodies, but is not readily compatible with a number of chromatographic techniques using high-salt mobile phases. Herein, we present the development and use for marketed mAbs and ADCs of 2D LC–MS via an online desalting step. We demonstrate the importance of such a setup for the determination of drug:antibody ratio (DAR), and the analysis of molecularity, fragmentation, and charge variants (deamidation, oxidation), notably under stress conditions. We discuss the advantages of 2D LC–MS in a regulated environment.

A rapid, accurate, and precise method for the quantification of trypsin inhibitor activity was evaluated. The method utilizes alpha hydroxyl acid capped oligo-lysines [hydroxy acid (Lys)n] or alpha hydroxyl acid capped oligo-lysines-methionine [hydroxy acid (Lys-Met)] as substrates. Hydrolysis of the oligopeptides yields unique chemical residues that were readily quantified with electrospray–mass spectrometry (ESI-MS). Accuracy and precision of the approach compared favorably with that of the standard test method.

Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have been increasingly used as biotherapeutic agents and a number of new mAbs are currently in the drug pipeline. Over the next five years the patent on at least nine major biotherapeutic monoclonal antibodies will expire, opening the door for development and marketing of generic forms known as Biosimilars. In this paper a review of the central role mass spectrometry coupled to liquid chromatography plays in characterizing these antibodies is presented. Contemporary top down and middle-up approaches using mass spectrometry and various novel separation techniques to measure the intact masses of mAbs and their subunits or domains are highlighted. Example data of an innovator mAb, Humira (adalimumab) are presented showing the identities and relative abundances of the isoforms associated with this mAb. Similarly the current state of classical peptide mapping using reversed-phase chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry with scan- dependent acquisition is briefly reviewed. Novel approaches that speed analysis and provide information on post translational modifications, glycosylation, and disulfide mapping are discussed. Example data of stressed and unstressed samples of adalimumab are also presented to demonstrate peptide mapping data and modifications to the antibody. Lastly, the current use of mass spectrometry in glycoprofiling of mAbs is reviewed. Example glycan data for adalimumab generated by a novel labeling scheme and sensitive to detection by both fluorescence and mass spectrometry will be presented.

Special Issues

Reflectron lenses are used in time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometers to create an electrostatic field to alter ion flow, providing for a longer flight path and therefore greater resolution.

Special Issues

Disinfection by-products (DBP) are an ever-present nuisance in the efforts to purify drinking water, wastewater, and municipal waters from various sources.

Special Issues

Detecting impurities in any chemical reaction is becoming increasingly important to detect those present at low levels (for example, 0.5%).

Click the title above to open the May 2016 issue of Current Trends in Mass Spectrometry, Volume 14, Number 2, in an interactive PDF format.