Characterizing the fragmentation of 2,5-bis (4-amidinophenyl)furan-bis-O-methylamidoxime and selected metabolites using ion trap mass spectrometry

Lian Zhou, Robert D. Voyksner, Dhiren R. Thakker, Chad E. Stephens, Mariappan Anbazhagan, David W. Boykin, James E. Hall, Richard R. Tidwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


A novel prodrug [2,5-bis(4-amidinophenyl)furan-bis-O-methylamidoxime (DB289)] of the promising antimicrobial agent, 2,5-bis(4-amidinophenyl)furan (DB75), has excellent oral activity. It is currently undergoing phase II clinical evaluation as an orally administered drug candidate against African trypanosomiasis and Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. The sequential product ion (MSn) fragmentations of DB289 and selected metabolites were characterized using ion trap mass spectrometry with electrospray ionization. An unusual homolytic bond cleavage, formation of an odd-electron ion from an even-electron ion with the loss of a radical, was commonly seen in the fragmentation patterns of DB289 and its metabolites. Both O-ethyl and N-methyl homologues of DB289 were utilized to confirm this fragmentation pathway. The labile hydrogen atoms in DB289 are readily exchanged with deuterium atoms in the solvent containing deuterium oxide (D2O) instead of water. The mass shift patterns displayed in the product ion spectra of DB289 in D2O proved useful in verifying the fragmentation pathway. Octadeuterated DB289 and DB75 (d-labeling on the diphenyl rings) showed unequivocally that the diphenylfuran moiety is not involved in the fragmentation. The fragmentation pathways uncovered in this work will facilitate structural characterization of all the metabolites produced in the metabolic activation of DB289.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1078-1085
Number of pages8
JournalRapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy
  • Organic Chemistry


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