HPLC Method for Quantification of Caffeine and Its Three Major Metabolites in Human Plasma Using Fetal Bovine Serum Matrix to Evaluate Prenatal Drug Exposure Academic Article in Scopus uri icon


  • © 2018 Rosa del Carmen Lopez-Sanchez et al. Caffeine is recognized as the first-line therapeutic agent for apnea of prematurity. The dosage regimen is 10 mg/kg loading dose and 2.5 mg/kg maintenance dose. However, the plasma concentration achieved, not always, is therapeutically useful. It makes necessary to increase the doses to reach plasma concentration up to 30 or 35 ¿g/mL or even higher to attain therapeutic effect. To study why neonates have these differences, and whether these effects are linked to prenatal caffeine exposure, we had to develop an analytical method for an accurate measurement of caffeine and metabolites concentration. The analysis was carried out using fetal bovine serum (FBS) as biological matrix in a high-performance liquid chromatography with an ultraviolet detector method. This method allows acceptable chromatographic resolution between analytes in 15 minutes. It was validated and proved to be linear in the 0.1-40 ¿g/mL range for caffeine, paraxanthine, theobromine, and theophylline in the same chromatographic analysis. Accuracy for quality control samples for intra- and interday assays was ranged from 96.5 to 105.2% and 97.1 to 106.2%. Precision had CV no more than 10% in all concentration levels for all analytes. No differences were observed between quantification in human and FBS. This method was applied to quantify plasma drug concentration in mothers and their newborns in a Mexican northeast population. In our study, we confirmed self-reported caffeine maternal intake in 85.2% (n=23); meanwhile, in their newborn's plasma, it was detected only in 78% (n=21). Caffeine plasma concentrations in mother and newborn had a linear relationship, and no differences were observed between groups (mothers versus children). These results suggest that our analytical method and substitution of biological matrix was linear, precise, and accurate for caffeine quantification and could be used for measuring prenatal exposure and let us to study, in the future, concentration differences observed during apnea clinical treatment.

Publication date

  • January 1, 2018