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  • 1 Chemistry Department, Faculty of Science, Cairo University, Giza 12613, Egypt
  • 2 Nuclear Research Centre, Nuclear Physics Department, AEA, Cairo 13759, Egypt
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Abstract

Ibuprofen (C15H18O2) is an anti-inflammatory drug. It is important to investigate its structure to know the active groups and weak bond responsible for its medical activity. Consequently in the present study, ibuprofen was investigated by mass spectrometry (MS) and thermal analyses (TAs) (TG/DTG and DTA), and confirmed by semi-empirical molecular orbital (MO) calculation using PM3 procedure, on the neutral and positively charged forms of the drug. These calculations included bond order, bond length, and bond strain, and charge distribution, heat of formation, and ionization energy. The mass spectra and thermal analysis fragmentation pathways were proposed and compared to each other to select the most suitable scheme representing the correct fragmentation pathway of the drug in both techniques. From the electron ionization (EI) mass spectra, the primary cleavage site of the charged molecule is because of the rupture of COOH group (the lowest bond order) followed by propyl group loss. The TAs of the drug revealed high response of the drug to the temperature variation with very fast rate. It decomposed in several sequential steps in the temperature range 25–360 °C. The initial thermal decomposition is similar to that obtained by MS fragmentation of the first rupture (COOH), then subsequent one of propyl loss, and finally of ethylene loss. These mass losses appear as endothermic peaks required energy values of −214.83, −895.95, and −211.10 J g−1, respectively. The order of these losses is also related to the values of the MO calculation parameters. Therefore, the comparison between MS and TA helps in the selection of the proper pathway representing the decomposition of this drug to give its metabolites in in vivo system. This comparison is also successfully confirmed by MO calculations.

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