Journal of chromatography. A

Chiral separation of new cathinone- and amphetamine-related designer drugs by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry using trifluoroacetyl-l-prolyl chloride as chiral derivatization reagent.

PMID 23058937


Since cathinone derivatives gained high popularity on the recreational drugs market within the past 5 years the development of analytical methods for the achiral and chiral determination of this substance class is of great interest. Not at least because it is obvious that the pharmacological potency differs between both enantiomers. Cathinones are structurally closely related to amphetamines, which have similar stimulating effects and are somehow better investigated. The goal of this research was to perform indirect enantioseparation of novel psychoactive cathinone and amphetamine derivatives. Trifluoroacetyl-l-prolyl chloride was served as chiral derivatization agent (CDA). Chromatographic separation was performed using a commercially available HP5-MS capillary column with a length of 30 m. Helium was used as carrier gas with a constant flow of 1.0 ml/min. Under optimum conditions 14 amphetamine derivatives were successfully resolved into their enantiomers and detected with the single quadrupol detector. Racemic methcathinone derivatives analyzed with the same method showed different peak areas for each of the produced diastereomeric isomers, even if they are structurally closely related to the amphetamines. Derivatization experiments with the single isomers of methcathinone led to both diastereomers whereas the S(-) enantiomer seemed to racemize more likely. Based on comparative experiments with R-(-)-α-methoxy-α-(trifluoromethyl)phenylacetyl chloride (MTPA) as CDA, racemization due to the keto-enol-tautomerism of the cathinone derivatives seemed to be responsible for this phenomenon. Nevertheless, 18 cathinone derivatives were successfully enantioseparated and an approach of quantitative evaluation is demonstrated.