Rapid determination of 30 bioactive constituents in XueBiJing injection using ultra high performance liquid chromatography-high resolution hybrid quadrupole-orbitrap mass spectrometry coupled with principal component analysis

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Xuebijing injection (XBJ) is a traditional Chinese herbal prescription widely used in the treatment of sepsis. Extensive chemical studies revealed that XBJ injection contains amino acids, phenolic acids, flavonoid glycosides, terpeneglycosides and phthalides. In this study, the applicability of ultra high performance liquid chromatography coupled with high resolution hybrid quadruple-orbitrap mass spectrometry (UHPLC-Q-Orbitrap MS) for the simultaneous quantitative analysis of 30 bioactive constituents in XueBiJing injection (XBJ) was investigated. The mass spectrometer was operated in full MS scan mode. The use of 70,000 FWHM mass resolution and narrow mass windows (5 ppm) could effectively improve the selectivity of the method. Separation was achieved on a Waters ACQUITY UPLC® HSS C18 column (2.1 mm × 100 mm, 1.8 μm) with a gradient mobile phase consisting of acetonitrile-water (containing 10 mM ammonium acetate) at a flow rate of 0.2 mL/min. Satisfactory linearity was achieved within wide linear range and all correlation coefficients (r) of analytes were more than 0.9996. The limits of detection (LODs) were in the range of 0.1180–27.82 ng/mL for different analytes. The relative standard deviations (RSDs) of inter- and intra-day precisions were less than 3.0% and the recoveries of the assay were in the range of 98.5%–101.5%. The validated method was successfully applied for simultaneous determination of 30 bioactive compounds in XueBiJing injection from 10 batches samples by UHPLC-Q-Orbitrap MS within 10 min. Moreover, the results were evaluated principal component analysis and two compounds might be the most important chemical markers for chemical quality control of XBJ injection. The novel Q-Orbitrap mass spectrometry has been proved to be a very promising and powerful tool for routine screening of bioactive compounds in traditional Chinese medicine injection, ensuring drug safety and public health.

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