Microchimica Acta

, 186:627 | Cite as

Solid phase extraction and capillary electrophoretic separation of racemic catecholamines by using magnetic particles coated with a copolymer prepared from poly(3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine) and polyethyleneimine

  • Jia Wu
  • Zhenqun Li
  • Li JiaEmail author
Original Paper


A method is presented for chiral separation of catecholamines present in bovine and mice blood. It combines magnetic solid phase extraction (MSPE) and chiral capillary electrophoresis (ch-CE). A copolymer consisting of poly(3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine) and polyethyleneimine was coated onto magnetic particles (MPs) by co-deposition using the CuSO4/H2O2 system as a polymerization initiator. The coated MPs are spherical and the average diameter is about 168 ± 4 nm. The thickness of the coating is approximately 19 nm. The functional MPs are used as sorbents in MSPE to simultaneously extract the catecholamines epinephrine, norepinephrine and isoprenaline. Under the optimum conditions, the extraction efficiencies for those catecholamines are in the range from 92.3 to 98.3%, with relative standard deviations (RSDs) of <5.3%. The extraction can be performed within 4 min. The extracts were then submitted to ch-CE. A method for field-enhanced sample injection (FESI) was used to enhance the detection sensitivities of the enantiomers. The limits of detection for catecholamine enantiomers range from 400 to 600 pg mL−1. In comparison with the FESI-ch-CE method, the sensitivity enhancement factors of the MSPE/ch-CE method for catecholamines are about 10-fold. The method was applied to the determination of trace levels of catecholamine enantiomers in (spiked) bovine and mice blood. The recoveries ranged from 88.2 to 93.8%, with RSDs of <5.5%. The whole detection procedure takes less than 30 min.

Graphical abstract

Schematic representation of the separation and detection of catecholamine enantiomers in blood by combination of polyDOPA/PEI-magnetic particles-based solid phase extraction and chiral-capillary electrophoresis.


Magnetic separation Chiral capillary electrophoresis On-line concentration Enantioseparation Chiral pharmaceuticals Blood 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21675056) and the Scientific and Technological Planning Project of Guangzhou City, China (201805010002).

Compliance with ethical standards

All animal procedures were performed in accordance with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Guidelines for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of South China Normal University, and the experiments were approved by the Animal Ethics Committee of South China Normal University. The author(s) declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

604_2019_3731_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.8 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 1868 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Laser Life Science & Institute of Laser Life Science, College of BiophotonicsSouth China Normal UniversityGuangzhouChina

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