Product ion tandem mass spectrometric differentiation of regioisomeric side-chain groups in cathinone derivatives



Abiedalla Y, DeRuiter J, Clark CR.


Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2016 Jul 30;30(14):1713-1721. doi: 10.1002/rcm.7603.


RATIONALE: Precursor materials are available to prepare aminoketone drugs containing regioisomeric propyl and isopropyl side-chain groups related to the drug alpha-pyrrovalerone (Flakka) and MDPV (3,4-methylenedioxypyrrovalerone). These compounds yield equivalent regioisomeric iminium cation base peaks in electron ionization mass spectrometry (EI-MS). METHODS: The propyl and isopropyl side-chain groups related to alpha-pyrrovalerone and MDPV were prepared and evaluated in EI-MS and tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) product ion experiments. Deuterium labeling in both the pyrrolidine and alkyl side-chain groups allowed for the confirmation of the structures for the major product ions formed from the regioisomeric EI-MS iminium cation base peaks. RESULTS: These iminium cation base peaks show characteristic product ion spectra which allow differentiation of the side-chain propyl and isopropyl groups in the structure. The n-propyl side chain containing iminium cation base peak (m/z 126) in the EI-MS spectrum yields a major product ion at m/z 84 while the regioisomeric m/z 126 base peak for the isopropyl side chain yields a characteristic product ion at m/z 70. Deuterium labeling in both the pyrrolidine ring and the alkyl side chain confirmed the process for the formation of these major product ions. CONCLUSIONS: Product ion fragmentation provides useful data for differentiation of n-propyl and isopropyl side-chain iminium cations from cathinone derivative drugs of abuse. Regioisomeric n-propyl and isopropyl iminium cations of equal mass yield characteristic product ions identifying the alkyl side-chain regioisomers in the pyrrolidine cathinone derivatives. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. CI – Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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Link/DOI: 10.1002/rcm.7603