Journal of chromatography. B, Analytical technologies in the biomedical and life sciences

Determination of partition coefficients n-octanol/water for treosulfan and its epoxy-transformers: an example of a negative correlation between lipophilicity of unionized compounds and their retention in reversed-phase chromatography.

PMID 23500352


For the last decade an alkylating agent treosulfan (TREO) has been successfully applied in clinical trials in conditioning prior to hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Pharmacological activity of the pro-drug depends on its epoxy-transformers, monoepoxide (S,S-EBDM) and diepoxide (S,S-DEB), which are formed in a non-enzymatic consecutive reaction accompanied by a release of methanesulfonic acid. In the present study partition coefficient n-octanol/water (POW) of TREO as well as its biologically active epoxy-transformers was determined empirically (applying a classical shake-flask method) and in silico for the first time. In vitro the partition was investigated at 37°C in the system composed of the pre-saturated n-octanol and 0.05 M acetate buffer pH 4.4 adjusted with sodium and potassium chloride to ionic strength of 0.16 M. Concentration of the analytes was quantified by reversed-phase high performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC) method in which retention time increased from S,S-DEB to TREO. It was shown that neither association nor dissociation of the tested compounds in the applied phases occurred. Calculated logPOW (TREO: -1.58±0.04, S,S-EBDM: -1.18±0.02, S,S-DEB: -0.40±0.03) indicate the hydrophilic character of the all three entities, corresponding to its pharmacokinetic parameters described in the literature. Experimentally determined logPOW of the compounds were best comparable to the values predicted by algorithm ALOGPs. Interestingly, the POW values determined in vitro as well as in silico were inversely correlated with the retention times observed in the endcapped RP-HPLC column. It might be explained by the fact that a cleavage of methansulfonic acid from a small molecule of TREO generates significant changes in the molecular structure. Consequently, despite the common chemical origin, TREO, S,S-EBDM and S,S-DEB do not constitute a 'congeneric' series of compounds. We concluded that this might occur in other low-weight species, therefore measurement of their POW by RP-HPLC had to be applied with a special care.