HPLC-tandem Mass Spectrometric Analysis of the Marker Compounds in Forsythiae Fructus and Multivariate Analysis

  • Received : 2011.04.17
  • Accepted : 2011.06.12
  • Published : 2011.06.30


A high-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometric method was developed to determine simultaneously eight marker constituents of Forsythiae fructus, and subsequently applied it to classify its two botanical origins. The marker compounds of Forsythia suspensa were phillyrin, pinoresinol, phillygenin, lariciresinol and forsythiaside; those of F.viridissima were arctiin, arctigenin and matairesinol. Separation of the eight analytes was achieved on a phenyl-hexyl column (150${\times}$2.0 mm i.d., 3 ${\mu}M$) using gradient elution with the mobile phase: (A) 10% acetonitrile in 0.5% acetic acid, (B) 40% aqueous acetonitrile. A few fragment ions specific to the types of lignans, among the product ions generated by collisonally induced dissociation (CID) of molecular ion clusters, such as [M-H]$^-$ or [M+OAc]$^-$ were used not only for fingerprinting analysis but for the quantification of each epimer by using multiple-reaction monitoring mode. It was shown good linearity ($r^2{\geq}$ 0.9998) over the wide range of all analytes; intra- and inter-day precisions (RSD, %) were within 9.14% and the accuracy ranged from 84.3 to 115.1%. The analytical results of 40 drug samples, combined with multivariate statistical analyses - principal component analysis (PCA) and hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) - clearly demonstrated the classification of the test samples according to their botanical origins. This method would provide a practical strategy for assessing the authenticity or quality of the herbal drug.


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