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Development of a HPLC System Based on an AChE Monolithic Micro-IMER (Immobilized Enzyme Reactor) for On-line Inhibition Studies - Awarded HPLC 2003 Best Poster

The only four drugs approved for the clinical treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease (tacrine, rivastigmine, donepezil and galantamine) are acetylcholinesterase inhibitors which act by maintaining high levels of acetylcholine at the muscarinic and nicotinic receptors in the central nervous system. Human acetyicholinesterase (HuAChE) represents a widely studied target enzyme and it is still object of research for the development of new drugs as enzyme inhibitors.

In a previous paper il] we reported the immobilisation of AChE on a silica based chromatographic column (50 x 4.6 mm I.D.) The yield of immobilization and the stability of the AChE—IMEN were considered satisfactory, hut some problems arose. The length of the IMER and the large amount of enzyme covalently bound to the chromatographic support resulted in catalysis product long elution times and some inhibitors aspecific matrix absorption with delayed enzyme activity recovery. In order to avoid these complications and considering the high rate of AChE enzymatic reaction, we decided to reduce the dimension of the solid support for immobilization, hence the amount of immobilized enzyme, by selecting a monolithic matrix disk (12 x 3 min I.D.).

CIMa (Convective Interaction Media) monolithic supports (Bia Separations, Ljubljana) represent a novel generation of stationary phases used for liquid chromatography, bioconversions, and solid phase synthesis. As opposed to individual particles packed into chromatographic columns, CIM supports are cast as continuous homogeneous phases and provide high rates of mass transfer at lower back pressure.

In the present work a CIM® disk with immobilised human recombinant acetylcholinesterase (HuAChECIM€ Disk) was developed. The activity of immobilised enzyme, the long term stability and reproducibility were tested. HuAChECIM disk was applied as an immobilised enzyme micro-reactor (micro-IMER) in on-line HPLC system for inhibitory potency determination of known AChE inhibitors.


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