Ultra-high performance liquid chromatography coupled with quadrupole/time of flight mass spectrometry based chemical profiling approach for the holistic quality control of complex Kang-Jing formula preparations

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Abstract

The Kang-Jing (KJ) formula is a compound preparation made from 12 kinds of herbs. So far, four different methods (M1-M4) have been documented for KJ preparation, but the influence of preparation methods on the holistic quality of KJ have remained unknown. In this study, a strategy was proposed to investigate the influence of different preparation methods on the holistic quality of KJ using ultra-high performance liquid chromatography coupled with quadrupole/time of flight mass spectrometry (UHPLC-QTOF-MS/MS) based chemical profiling. A total of 101 compounds mainly belonging to flavonoids, tanshinones, monoterpene glycosides, triterpenoid saponins, alkaloids, phenolic acids and volatile oils, were identified. Among these compounds, glaucine was detected only in M3/M4 samples, while two dehydrocorydaline isomers merely detected in M2/M3/M4 samples. Tetrahydrocolumbamine, ethylic lithospermic acid, salvianolic acid E and rosmarimic acid were only detected in M1/M3/M4 samples. In the subsequent quantitative analysis, 12 major compounds were determined by UHPLC-MS/MS. The proposed method was validated with respect to linearity, accuracy, precision and recovery. It was found that the contents of marker compounds varied significantly in samples prepared by different methods. These results demonstrated that preparation method does significantly affect the holistic quality of KJ. UHPLC-QTOF-MS/MS based chemical profiling approach is efficient and reliable for comprehensive quality evaluation of KJ. Collectively, this study provide the chemical evidence for revealing the material basis of KJ, and establish a simple and accurate chemical profiling method for its quality control.

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