Journal of chromatographic science

Detection and chemical profiling of Ling-Gui-Zhu-Gan decoction by ultra performance liquid chromatography-hybrid linear ion trap-Orbitrap mass spectrometry.

PMID 24920655


Ling-Gui-Zhu-Gan decoction (LGZGD), a well-known traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) formula, has been extensively used for the treatment of cardiovascular disease in clinic. However, the chemical constituents in LGZGD had not been investigated so far. In this study, an ultra performance liquid chromatography-hybrid electrospray ionization linear ion trap-Orbitrap mass spectrometry (UPLC-LTQ-Oribitrap-MS/MS) method was established for rapid separation and structural identification of the constituents in LGZGD. Separation was performed on an ACQUITY(TM) UPLC BEH C18 column (50 × 2.1 mm, 1.7 μm) by gradient elution mode, using acetonitrile-water containing 0.1% formic acid as mobile phase at the flow rate of 0.2 mL/min. Accurate mass measurement for molecular ions and characteristic fragment ions could represent identification criteria for these compounds. As a result, 95 compounds including triterpene acids, triterpene saponins, flavonoids, coumarins, coumestans, benzofurans, phenylpropanoids and sesquiterpenoid lactones were detected, and 90 of them were tentatively identified. All compounds were further assigned in the individual raw material. In conclusion, the UPLC-LTQ-Orbitrap-MS/MS is a highly efficient technique to separate and identify constituents in complex matrices of TCMs. These results obtained in this research will provide a basis for quality control and further in vivo study of LGZGD.