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2D-HPLC-MS Technology Combined with Molecular Network for the Identification of Components in Tibetan Medicine Aconitum pendulum

Published: December 8th, 2023



1Ethnic Medicine Academic Heritage Innovation Research Center, Meishan Hospital, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 2State Key Laboratory of Southwestern Chinese Medicine Resources, Innovative Institute of Chinese Medicine and Pharmacy, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 3Key Laboratory of Chemical Biology & Traditional Chinese Medicine Research, Ministry of Education, 4Key Laboratory of Phytochemical R&D of Hunan Province, Hunan Normal University
* These authors contributed equally

This study utilizes two-dimensional high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (2D-HPLC-MS) technology in conjunction with molecular networking to unravel the intricate chemical composition of the Tibetan medicinal plant Aconitum pendulum Busch (APB). The article provides a detailed protocol for the systematic exploration and identification of complex chemical components of herbal medicines.

In this study, a comprehensive approach was employed, utilizing 2D-HPLC-MS technology in conjunction with the molecular network to unravel the intricate chemical composition of the Tibetan medicinal plant APB. Through the implementation of 2D-HPLC, enhanced separation of complex mixtures was achieved, enabling the isolation of individual compounds for subsequent analysis. The molecular network approach further aided in elucidating structural relationships among these compounds, contributing to the determination of potential bioactive molecules. This integrated strategy efficiently identified a wide array of chemical components present within the plant. The findings revealed a diverse spectrum of chemical constituents within APB, including alkaloids, among others. This research not only advances understanding of the phytochemical profile of this traditional Tibetan medicine but also provides valuable insights into its potential therapeutic properties. The integration of 2D-HPLC-MS and molecular network proves to be a powerful tool for systematically exploring and identifying complex chemical compositions in herbal medicines, paving the way for further research and development in the field of natural product discovery.

Tibetan medicine is an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine, adhering to the principles of Tibetan medical practices, and is used for disease prevention and treatment1. However, Tibetan herbal medicine contains complex plant chemical constituents characterized by significant fluctuations in content. Limited understanding of the fundamental bioactive elements has become a bottleneck in the modernization of Tibetan medicine2. The application of liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), combining the strong separation power of chromatography with the high sensitivity of mass spectrometry (MS), has been widel....

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1. Preparation

  1. Sample preparation
    1. Use a 1/10,000 sensitivity balance to weigh 0.25 g (dry weight) of APB in a 3 mL microcentrifuge tube, add 2.5 mL of methanol, and then sonicate for 30 min (power 240 W, frequency 40 kHz).
    2. Perform centrifugation at 1.2 x g for 5 min, collect the supernatant, and filter through a membrane filter with a 0.22 µm pore size.
  2. Preparation of experimental materials
    1. Prepare the two-dimensional mo.......

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APB was utilized as a model organism to validate the feasibility of the 2D-HPLC-MS technology in conjunction with the MN method. By importing the MS raw data into the MN with the parameters set to default, an MN was generated. MN is a visual computational strategy that visualizes all molecular ions detected in a complete LC-MS-MS experiment and the chemical relationships between these molecular ions13.

MN is based on the secondary mass spectrum fragments formed by the c.......

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The primary focus of this experiment was the optimization of a partial method within the framework of two-dimensional liquid phase separation. To achieve this, a novel at-column dilution modulator was seamlessly integrated into the two-dimensional liquid chromatography (2D-LC) system. This technical adjustment was of paramount importance as it significantly elevated the proficiency in profiling the chemical constituents present in Tibetan medicine known as APB. Incorporating the 2D-HPLC-MS technology enabled the comprehe.......

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This work was funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China (82130113), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (82204765), the Nature Science Foundation of Sichuan (2022NSFSC1470), Sichuan Provincial Postdoctoral Special Funding Project (TB2023020) and the Xinglin Scholars Research Promotion Program of Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (BSH2021030). These funds provide support in terms of experimental equipment, experimental materials, and publication fees.


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NameCompanyCatalog NumberComments
AcetonitrileFisher chemicalF22M81203Mobile phase
Aconitum pendulum//Herb medicine
Agilent 1290 Infinity (II) 2D-LC Agilent TechnologiesG2198-90001Liquid chromatography
Disposable syringesChengdu Keen experimental equipment/1ml
EP tubeChengdu Keen experimental equipment/3ml
Liquid phase injection bottleChengdu Keen experimental equipment/1.5ml
LTQ XL Mass SpectrometerThermo FisherLTQ21991Mass Spectrometer
Microporous membranes Chengdu Keen experimental equipment/0.22μm
Ultimate XB-C18,5 μm,2.1 x 200 mmWelch00201-31015Reversed-phase column
Ultrasonic CleanerGT SonicUGT20DEC048YUltrasonic Cleaner 240W 40KHz
XAmide,3 μm,100ADalian Mondi TechnologyD2019110601Hydrophilic column

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