Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 400, Issue 2, pp 517–526 | Cite as

Fast and selective extraction of nicotine from human plasma based on magnetic strong cation exchange resin followed by liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry

  • Yang Xu
  • Changjia Wang
  • Xiaopan Zhang
  • Haiyan Chen
  • Qi Zhao
  • Weitao Song
  • Hui Wang
  • Qinglei Zeng
  • Lan DingEmail author
Original Paper


In the study, a fast and selective method based on magnetic separation has been developed for the extraction of nicotine from human plasma using magnetic strong cation exchange (MSCX) resins as adsorbent. MSCX resins were prepared using hydrophobic Fe3O4 magnetite as magnetically susceptible component, styrene and acrylic acid as polymeric matrix components, and acetyl sulfonate as the sulfonation agent. The extraction procedure was carried out in a single step by stirring the mixture of diluted plasma sample and MSCX resins in the vortex for 5 min. Then, the resins with adsorbed nicotine were separated from the sample matrix by applying an appropriate magnetic field. Main factors affecting the extraction of nicotine such as the amount of MSCX resins, pH value of the extraction solvent, extraction time, and washing and eluting conditions were optimized. The nicotine eluted from the resins was determined by liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry. The calibration curve obtained by analyzing matrix-matched standards shows excellent linear relationship (r 2 = 0.9998) in the concentration range of 10–2,500 ng mL−1. The limit of detection and quantification obtained are 2.9 and 9.7 ng mL−1, respectively. The relative standard deviations of intra- and inter-day obtained are in the range of 1.9–6.9% and 2.5–7.8% with the recoveries ranging from 78.7% to 99.1%. The proposed method was successfully applied to determine nicotine in human plasma phlebotomized from ten male smokers. Nicotine was detectable with the contents ranging from 44.4 to 221.9 ng mL−1 in five samples.


Preparation and application process of magnetic strong cation exchange resins


Magnetic strong cation exchange resin Nicotine Human plasma Liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry 



This work was supported by the Development Program of the Ministry of Science and Technology of Jilin Province, China (grant number 20100319).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yang Xu
    • 1
  • Changjia Wang
    • 2
  • Xiaopan Zhang
    • 1
  • Haiyan Chen
    • 1
  • Qi Zhao
    • 1
  • Weitao Song
    • 1
  • Hui Wang
    • 1
  • Qinglei Zeng
    • 1
  • Lan Ding
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.College of ChemistryJilin UniversityChangchunChina
  2. 2.Jilin Provincial Health Department Key Laboratory for Infectious Disease, Department of HepatologyPeople’s Hospital of Jilin ProvinceChangchunChina

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