Dry heat forced degradation of buserelin peptide: Kinetics and degradant profiling

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Graphical abstractBuserelin is a GnRH agonist peptide drug, comprising a nine amino acid sequence (pGlu-His-Trp-Ser-Tyr-D-Ser(tBu)-Leu-Arg-Pro-NH-Et) and most commonly known for its application in hormone dependent cancer therapy, e.g. prostate cancer. In order to evaluate its hot-melt extrusion (HME) capabilities, buserelin powder in its solid state was exposed to elevated temperatures for prolonged time periods. A stability indicating UPLC-PDA method was used for quantification of buserelin and the formed degradants. Different solid state kinetic models were statistically evaluated of which the Ginstling–Brounshtein model fitted the data best. Extrapolation to and experimental verification of typical HME-related conditions, i.e. 5 min at 100 °C and 125 °C, showed no significant degradation, thus demonstrating the HME capabilities of buserelin.Mass spectrometric identification of the buserelin-related degradants formed under solid state heat stress was performed. Based upon the identity of these degradants, different degradation hypotheses were raised. First, direct β-elimination of the hydroxyl moiety at the serine residue, followed by fragmentation into an amide (pGlu-His-Trp-NH2) and pyruvoyl (pyruvoyl-Tyr-D-Ser(tBu)-Leu-Arg-Pro-NH-Et) peptide fragments, was postulated. Alternatively, internal esterification due to nucleophilic attack of the unprotected serine residue, followed by β-elimination or hydrolysis would yield pGlu-His-Trp, pGlu-His-Trp-NH2 and the pyruvoyl peptide fragment. Degradant pGlu-His-Trp-Ser-Tyr-NH2 is believed to be formed in a similar way. Secondly, direct backbone hydrolysis would yield pGlu-His-Trp and Tyr-D-Ser(tBu)-Leu-Arg-Pro-NH-Et peptide fragments. Moreover, the presence of Ala-Tyr-D-Ser(tBu)-Leu-Arg-Pro-NH-Et can be explained by hydrolysis of the Trp-Ser peptide bond and conversion of the serine moiety to an alanine moiety. Third and finally, isomerisation of aforementioned peptide fragments and buserelin itself was also observed.

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