Scientific article
Open access

Improved sample introduction approach in hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography to avoid breakthrough of proteins

Published inJournal of chromatography, vol. 1713, p. 464498
Publication date2024-01-04

When therapeutic proteins are analysed under hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography (HILIC) conditions, there is an inherent mismatch between the sample diluent (proteins must be solubilised in aqueous media) and the mobile phase, which is mostly composed of aprotic solvent (acetonitrile). This difference in eluent strength between sample diluent and mobile phase is responsible for severe analyte breakthrough and peak distortion. As demonstrated with therapeutic proteins of different sizes (insulin of 6 kDa, anakinra of 17 kDa and rituximab subunits of 25 and 50 kDa), only very small volumes of 0.1-0.2 µL can be injected without breakthrough effects, when performing rapid analysis on short HILIC columns of 20-50 mm, leading to poor sensitivity. In order to avoid the undesired effect of the strong sample diluent, a special injection program should be preferred. This consists in the addition and automatic injection of a defined volume of weak solvent (acetonitrile) along with the sample to increase retention factors during sample loading. Various injection programs were tested, including the addition of a pre-injection or post-injection or both (bracketed injection) of acetonitrile plugs. Several weak to strong injection solvent ratios of 1:1, 1:2, 1:4 and 1:10 were tested. Our work proves that the addition of a pre-plug solvent with a weak vs. strong injection solvent ratio of 1:10 is a valuable strategy to inject relatively large volumes of proteins in HILIC, regardless of column dimensions, thus maximising sensitivity. No peak deformation or breakthrough was observed under these conditions. However, it is important to note that peak broadening (40 % larger peaks) was observed when the injection program increased the injection solvent ratio from 1:1 to 1:10. Finally, this strategy was applied to a wide range of therapeutic mAb products with different physico-chemical properties. In all cases, relatively large volumes can be successfully injected onto small volume HILIC columns using a purely aqueous sample diluent, as long as an appropriate (weak) solvent pre-injection is applied.

  • Breakthrough
  • Hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography
  • Solvent mismatch
  • Therapeutic proteins
Citation (ISO format)
PÉREZ-ROBLES, Raquel et al. Improved sample introduction approach in hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography to avoid breakthrough of proteins. In: Journal of chromatography, 2024, vol. 1713, p. 464498. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2023.464498
Main files (1)
Article (Accepted version)
ISSN of the journal0021-9673

Technical informations

Creation12/12/2023 3:26:49 PM
First validation12/15/2023 2:52:11 PM
Update time12/15/2023 2:52:11 PM
Status update12/15/2023 2:52:11 PM
Last indexation05/06/2024 5:36:54 PM
All rights reserved by Archive ouverte UNIGE and the University of GenevaunigeBlack