UPLC-MS/MS quantification of nanoformulated ritonavir, indinavir, atazanavir, and efavirenz in mouse serum and tissues

Jiangeng Huang, Nagsen Gautam, Sai Praneeth R. Bathena, Upal Roy, Jo Ellyn McMillan, Howard E. Gendelman, Yazen Alnouti

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36 Scopus citations


Animal pharmacokinetic and tissue distribution assays of antiretroviral therapeutic drugs require accurate drug quantification in biological fluids and tissues. Here we report a simple, rapid, and sensitive ultra performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS) method for quantification of commonly used antiretroviral drugs ritonavir (RTV), indinavir (IDV), atazanavir (ATV), and efavirenz (EFV) in mouse serum and tissues (liver, kidney, lung, and spleen). These antiretroviral drugs are currently the cornerstones of common therapeutic regimens for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Chromatographic separation was achieved using a gradient mobile phase (5% acetonitrile in methanol and 7.5mM ammonium acetate (pH 4.0)) on an ACQUITY UPLC ®BEH Shield RP 18 column. All compounds eluted within a 7min run time. Lopinavir was used as an internal standard. Detection was achieved by dual positive and negative ionization modes on a quadrupole linear ion trap hybrid mass spectrometer with an electrospray ionization (ESI) source. The dynamic range was 0.2-1000ng/mL for RTV, IDV, and ATV, and 0.5-1000 for EFV. The method was validated and showed high and consistent intra-day and inter-day accuracy and precision for all analytes. This method is used to support the preclinical development studies of targeted- and sustained-release combination ART (nanoART). The current data demonstrate a 1.5-4 fold increase in serum and tissue AUC of nanoformulated ATV, RTV, and EFV administered to mice when compared to native drug. In addition, the tested formulation enhanced exposure of the same anti-HIV drugs in mouse tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2332-2338
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Chromatography B: Analytical Technologies in the Biomedical and Life Sciences
Issue number23
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by NIH grant PO1 DA028555-01 .


  • Antiretroviral drugs
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Tissue distribution


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