Journal of mass spectrometry : JMS

Studies on the collision-induced dissociation of adipoR agonists after electrospray ionization and their implementation in sports drug testing.

PMID 25800023


AdipoR agonists are small, orally active molecules capable of mimicking the protein adiponectin, which represents an adipokine with antidiabetic and antiatherogenic effects. Two adiponectin receptors were reported in the literature referred to as adipoR1 and adipoR2. Activation of these receptors stimulates mitochondrial biogenesis and results in an improved oxidative metabolism (via adipoR1) and increased insulin sensitivity (via adipoR2). Hence, adipoR agonists are potentially performance enhancing substances and targets of proactive and preventive anti-doping measures. In this study, two adipoR agonists termed AdipoRon and 112254 as well as two isotopically labeled internal standards (ISTDs) were synthesized in three-step reactions. The products were fully characterized by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR), mass spectrometry (MS) and density functional theory (DFT) computation. Collision-induced dissociation pathways following electrospray ionization were suggested based on the determined elemental compositions of product ions, comparison to product ions derived from labeled analogs (ISTDs), H/D-exchange experiments and the results of DFT calculations. The most abundant product ions were found at m/z 174, tentatively assigned to protonated 1-benzyl-1,2,3,4-tetrahydropyridine for AdipoRon, and m/z 207, suggested as protonated 1-(4-methoxybenzyl)piperazine, for 112254. Notably, the loss of the heterocyclic ring (i.e. piperazine and piperidine, respectively) in a supposedly intramolecular elimination reaction was observed in both cases. A qualitative determination of both AdipoR agonists in human plasma was established and fully validated for doping control purposes. Validation items such as recovery (86-89%), specificity, linearity, lower limit of detection (1 ng/ml), intraday (3-18%) and interday (5-16%) precision as well as ion suppression or enhancement were determined. Based on these findings adipoR agonists can be implemented in sports drug testing procedures.