Determination of 3-mercaptopyruvate in Plasma by High Performance Liquid Chromatography Tandem Mass Spectrometry

Document Type


Publication Date



Accidental or intentional cyanide poisoning is a serious health risk. The current suite of FDA approved antidotes, including hydroxocobalamin, sodium nitrite, and sodium thiosulfate is effective, but each antidote has specific major limitations, such as large effective dosage or delayed onset of action. Therefore, next generation cyanide antidotes are being investigated to mitigate these limitations. One such antidote, 3-mercaptopyruvate (3-MP), detoxifies cyanide by acting as a sulfur donor to convert cyanide into thiocyanate, a relatively nontoxic cyanide metabolite. An analytical method capable of detecting 3-MP in biological fluids is essential for the development of 3-MP as a potential antidote. Therefore, a high performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS-MS) method was established to analyze 3-MP from rabbit plasma. Sample preparation consisted of spiking the plasma with an internal standard (13C3-3-MP), precipitation of plasma proteins, and reaction with monobromobimane to inhibit the characteristic dimerization of 3-MP. The method produced a limit of detection of 0.1 μM, a linear dynamic range of 0.5–100 μM, along with excellent linearity (R2 ≥ 0.999), accuracy (±9% of the nominal concentration) and precision (<7% relative standard deviation). The optimized HPLC-MS-MS method was capable of detecting 3-MP in rabbits that were administered sulfanegen, a prodrug of 3-MP, following cyanide exposure. Considering the excellent performance of this method, it will be utilized for further investigations of this promising cyanide antidote.

Publication Title

Journal of Chromatography B



First Page


Last Page


DOI of Published Version