Although traditionally reserved for proteomic analysis, nanoESI has found increased use for small molecule applications related to drug metabolism/pharmacokinetics (DMPK). NanoESI, which refers to ESI performed at flow rates in the range of 200 to 1000 nL/min using smaller diameter emitters (10 to 100 μm id), produces smaller droplets than conventional ESI resulting in more efficient ionization. Benefits include greater sensitivity, enhanced dynamic range, and a reduced competition for ionization. These advantages may now be harnessed largely due to the introduction of a commercial system for automated nanoESI infusion. This development in turn has allowed ADME (absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion) scientists to consider novel approaches to mass spectrometric analysis without direct LC interfacing. While it is freely acknowledged that nanoESI infusion is not likely to supplant LC-MS as the primary analytical platform for ADME, nanoESI infusion has been successfully applied to both quantitative (bioanalysis) and qualitative (metabolite identification) applications. This review summarizes published applications of this technology and offers a perspective on where it fits best into the DMPK laboratory.
Keywords: Electrospray ionization mass spectrometry, (ESI-MS), nanospray, Bioanalyses, solid phase micro-extraction (SPME), ADME
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