Fragmentation studies of SIRT1-activating drugs and their detection in human plasma for doping control purposes


M. Thevis, Center for Preventive Doping Research/Institute of Biochemistry, German Sport University Cologne, Am Sportpark Muengersdorf 6, 50933 Cologne, Germany.




The efficiency of Sirtuin1, a major target for the treatment of various metabolic disorders such as inflammation and type 2 diabetes mellitus, can be modulated via low molecular mass SIRT1 activators (e.g. resveratrol, SRT1720, and SRT2104).The administration of such compounds results in increased deacetylation of substrates including p53, FOXO1, and PGC1alpha, potentially leading to an improved physical performance. Consequently, proactive and preventive anti-doping measures are required and an assay dedicated to serum and plasma was desirable.


Model substances of emerging SIRT1 drug candidates were obtained and synthesized and their mass spectrometric behavior following positive or negative electrospray ionization and collision-induced dissociation was elucidated using low and high resolution/high accuracy (tandem) mass spectrometry. Subsequently, a screening and confirmation procedure necessitating 100 μL of plasma was established employing liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) based on diagnostic ion transitions recorded in multiple reaction monitoring mode. Sample preparation consisted of the addition of two deuterated internal standards (D8-SRT1720 and D4-resveratrol) to the plasma specimen and subsequent protein precipitation.


Characteristic product ions indicative of the core structures of the model analytes were characterized and utilized for the development of a multi-analyte LC/MS/MS detection method applicable to sports drug testing programs. The doping control assay was validated with regard to specificity, limits of detection (0.1–1 ng/mL), recoveries (90–98%), intraday and interday precisions (2–18%), and ion suppression/enhancement effects.


The fragmentation pathways of SRT1720 and 4 SIRT1 activator models based on a common thiazole-imidazole nucleus as well as two different complementary activators (SIRT1 activator 3 and CAY10602), comprising a quinoxaline core, were studied. The resulting information was used to establish and validate a sports drug testing methodology relevant for an efficient and timely anti-doping procedure, targeting a new class of emerging therapeutics possessing significant potential for misuse in elite and amateur sport. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.