• CE;
  • Cyclodextrin;
  • Electromembrane extraction;
  • Enantiomer;
  • Experimental design;
  • Trimipramine


A sensitive, simple and reproducible method was developed for preconcentration and determination of trimipramine (TPM) enantiomers in biological samples using electromembrane extraction combined with cyclodextrin-modified capillary electrophoresis (CE). During the extraction, TPM enantiomers migrated from a 5 mL sample solution through a thin layer of 2-nitrophenyl octyl ether NPOE immobilized in the pores of a hollow fiber, and into a 20 μL acidic aqueous acceptor phase presented inside the lumen of the fiber. A Box–Behnken design and the response surface methodology (RSM) were used for the optimization of different variables on extraction efficiency. Optimized extraction conditions were: NPOE as supported liquid membrane, inter-electrode distance of 5 mm, stirring rate of 1000 rpm, 51 V potential difference, 34 min as the extraction time, acceptor phase pH 1.0 and donor phase pH 4.5. Then, the extract was analyzed using optimized cyclodextrin (CD)-modified CE method for the separation of TPM enantiomers. Best results were achieved using 100 mM phosphate running buffer (pH 2.0) containing 10 mM α-CD as the chiral selector, applied voltage of 18 kV and 20°C. The range of quantitation for both enantiomers was 20–500 ng/mL. The method was very reproducible so that intra- and interday RSDs (n=6) were <6%. The limits of quantitation and detection for both enantiomers were 20 and 7 ng/mL, respectively. Finally, this method was successfully applied to determine the concentration of TPM enantiomers in plasma and urine samples without any pre-treatment.