Distribution of terfenadine and its metabolites in locusts studied by desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry imaging
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Desorption electrospray ionization (DESI) mass spectrometry (MS) imaging was used to image locusts dosed with the antihistamine drug terfenadine. The study was conducted in order to elucidate a relatively high elimination rate of terfenadine from the locust hemolymph. In this one of the few MS imaging studies on insects, a method for cryosectioning of whole locusts was developed, and the distributions of a number of endogenous compounds are reported, including betaine and a number of amino acids and phospholipids. Terfenadine was detected in the stomach region and the intestine walls, whereas three different metabolites—terfenadine acid (fexofenadine), terfenadine glucoside, and terfenadine phosphate—were detected in significantly smaller amounts and only in the unexcreted feces in the lower part of the intestine. The use of MS/MS imaging was necessary in order to detect the metabolites. With use of DESI-MS imaging, no colocalization of the drug and the metabolites was observed, suggesting a very rapid excretion of metabolites into the feces. Additional liquid chromatography–MS investigations were performed on hemolymph and feces and showed some abundance of terfenadine and the three metabolites, although at low levels, in both the hemolymph and the feces.
KeywordsDrug metabolitsm Insects Mass spectrometry imaging Desorption electrospray ionization mass spectrometry
Support from the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation (grant 023-2011-3), the Carlsberg Foundation, and the Danish Council for Independent Research | Natural Sciences is gratefully acknowledged.
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