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A simple, sensitive, selective and reproducible method based on anion-exchange liquid chromatography with post-column derivatisation was developed for the determination of eflornithine (2-difluoromethyl-DL-ornithine; DFMO) in human plasma and cerebrospinal fluid. The 1-alkylthio-2-alkyl-isoindoles fluorescent derivative of the drug was separated from the internal standard (MDL 77246A) on an anion-exchange column (PRP-X300, 250x2.1 mm, 7-microm particle size: Hamilton, USA), with retention times of 6.9 and 10.7 min, respectively. Fluorescence detection was set at 430/340 nm (emission/excitation wavelength). The elution solvent consisted of a solution of 30 mM potassium dihydrogen phosphate buffer (pH 2.2) and acetonitrile (50:50, v/v), running through the column at a flow-rate of 0.3 ml/min. The chromatographic analysis was operated at 37 degrees C. Sample preparation for either plasma or CSF (100 microl) was done by single-step protein precipitation with 20% trichloroacetic acid after incubation at 4 degrees C for 1 h. Calibration curves for plasma (100, 200, 400, 600, 800 and 1200 nmol/100 microl, and 10, 20, 40, 80, 120 and 160 nmol/100 microl for the high and low concentration range curves, respectively) and CSF (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 nmol/100 microl) were all linear with correlation coefficients better than 0.999. The precision of the method based on within-day repeatability and reproducibility (day-to-day variation) at high concentration range was below 15%, whereas at low concentration range was below 20% (% coefficient of variations: %C.V.) Good accuracy was observed for both the intra-day or inter-day assays, as indicated by the minimal deviation of mean values found with measured samples from that of the theoretical values (below +/-15 and +/-20% at high and low concentration range, respectively. The limit of quantification was accepted as 0.1 nmol using 100-microl samples. The mean recovery for DFMO and the internal standard were greater than 95%. The method was free from interference from commonly used drugs including antimalarials and antihelminthics. The method appears to be robust and has been applied to a pharmacokinetic study of DFMO in patients with African trypanosomiasis following oral doses of Ornidyl (Aventis Pharma, Frankfurt, Germany) at 500 mg/kg body weight (125 mg q.i.d.) for 14 days.

Original publication




Journal article


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

Publication Date





221 - 231


Pharmacology and Toxicology Unit, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Thammasat University (Rangsit Campus), Paholyothin Rd., Pathumthani 12121, Thailand.


Humans, Eflornithine, Schistosomicides, Calibration, Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid, Chromatography, Ion Exchange, Spectrometry, Fluorescence, Sensitivity and Specificity, Reproducibility of Results