An integrative investigation of the therapeutic mechanism ofAinsliaea fragransChamp. in cervicitis using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry based on a rat plasma metabolomics strategy

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HighlightsThirty-two potential biomarkers were identified in the response to rat cervicitis.Twenty-seven potential biomarkers exhibited altered levels in the AFC group compared to the model group.Ainsliaea fragrans Champ. showed therapeutic effect of rat cervicitis induced by hydroxybenzene mucilage.Cervicitis is an extremely common gynecological disease and can be induced by diverse factors such as Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis, and Mycoplasma genitalium infections. Long-term unhealed cervicitis may lead to a series of diseases including endometritis, salpingitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and chorioamnionitis. However, the pathogenesis of cervicitis remains unknown. Ainsliaea fragrans Champ. (AFC) has been widely used in clinical treatment of cervicitis. In the present study, we performed an integrative investigation involving histopathology analysis and non-target plasma metabolomics analysis in a cervicitis rat model induced by phenol mucilage, using ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled with a tandem quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry approach. Based on the integrative investigation, marked metabolomic differences were identified between the cervicitis and control groups using multivariate analysis. As a result, 32 potential biomarkers were identified in the response to cervicitis, and were involved in arachidonic acid metabolism, linoleic acid metabolism, primary bile acid biosynthesis, taurine and hypotaurine metabolism, pantothenate and CoA biosynthesis, and glycerophospholipid metabolism. After treatment, a total of 27 potential biomarkers exhibited altered levels in the AFC group compared to the model group, and 12 metabolites including 1-stearoylglycerophosphoinositol, bolasterone, lysoPC(16:0), lysoPC(20:4), lysoPC(P-16:0), lysoPC(P-18:0), lysoPC(P-18:1), stearoylcarnitine, taurine, lysoPC(17:0), 20-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid, and 1-arachidonoylglycerophosphoinositol returned to their normal levels. This study suggested that the therapeutic mechanism of AFC is related to those altered endogenous metabolites.

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