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Development and validation of a UPLC-UV method for the quantification of thiopurine methyltransferase enzyme activity in human erythrocytes

Illamola, S.M., Echaabi, A.K., Mazeron, C., Deshayes, S., Loriot, M.A., Pallet, N.
Journal of chromatography 2019 v.1113 pp. 91-97
S-adenosylmethionine, drugs, enzyme activity, erythrocytes, guidelines, high performance liquid chromatography, humans, inflammatory bowel disease, lymphocytic leukemia, methylation, patients, solvents, thiopurine S-methyltransferase, toxicity, ultra-performance liquid chromatography
Thiopurines are drugs widely used for the treatment of autoimmune conditions, inflammatory bowel disease or acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Determination of thiopurine methyltransferase activity (TPMT), a major determinant of thiopurines toxicity, has been suggested before implementing thiopurine treatment. An ultraperformance liquid chromatography (UPLC) method was developed and validated for the quantification of TPMT enzyme activity based on the conversion of 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP) to 6-methylmercaptopurine (6-MMP) using S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) as methyl donor in red blood cell lysates (RBC). This method was improved from a previous laborious high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method, using a lower volume of injection and with a shorter runtime.After incubation and protein precipitation 6-MMP was separated on a HSS-T3 (2.1 × 50 mm, 1.8 μm) column and monitored by UV detection (290 nm). A change on the organic solvent used to dissolve 6-MP resulted in a reduction of interference by endogenous or non-enzymatic methylated 6-MMP. A full validation of the 6-MMP assay was performed according to the FDA and EMA guidelines. The method was linear from 0.125 to 2 nmol/mL, with acceptable values of accuracy and precision.The method was applied in 106 patients treated with thiopurines whose TPMT activity was previously quantified by HPLC. Evaluation through Bland-Altman plot showed that TPMT activities were in agreement between both methods.