Analysis of free drug fractions in serum by ultrafast affinity extraction and two-dimensional affinity chromatography using α1-acid glycoprotein microcolumns

Cong Bi, Xiwei Zheng, David S. Hage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


In the circulatory system, many drugs are reversibly bound to serum proteins such as human serum albumin (HSA) and alpha1-acid glycoprotein (AGP), resulting in both free and protein-bound fractions for these drugs. This report examined the use of microcolumns containing immobilized AGP for the measurement of free drug fractions by ultrafast affinity extraction and a two-dimensional affinity system. Several drugs known to bind AGP were used as models to develop and evaluate this approach. Factors considered during the creation of this method included the retention of the drugs on the microcolumns, the injection flow rate, the microcolumn size, and the times at which a second AGP column was placed on-line with the microcolumn. The final system had residence times of only 110-830ms during sample passage through the AGP microcolumns and allowed free drug fractions to be determined within 10-20min when using only 3-10μL of sample per injection. This method was used to measure the free fractions of the model drugs at typical therapeutic levels in serum, giving good agreement with the results obtained by ultrafiltration. This approach was also used to estimate the binding constants for each drug with AGP in serum, even for drugs that had significant interactions with both AGP and HSA in such samples. These results indicated that AGP microcolumns could be used with ultrafast affinity extraction to measure free drug fractions in a label-free manner and to study the binding of drugs with AGP in complex samples such as serum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-57
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Chromatography A
StatePublished - Feb 5 2016


  • Drug-protein binding
  • Free drug fraction
  • Human serum albumin
  • Ultrafast affinity extraction
  • α-Acid glycoprotein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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