Characterization and quantitation of aristolochic acid analogs in different parts of Aristolochiae Fructus, using UHPLC-Q/TOF-MS and UHPLC-QqQ-MS

Wen Wen Mao, Wen Gao, Zhitao Liang, Ping Li, Zhongzhen Zhao, Hui Jun Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Aristolochiae Fructus, a Chinese herbal medicine derived from the fruit of Aristolochia contorta Bge., contains nephrotoxic aristolochic acid analogues (AAAs). According to ancient medical texts, various medicinal parts of the fruit of A. contorta were ever used. In order to reveal which part could be safely and effectively used, it is necessary to analyze the chemical profiles of different medicinal parts. Herein we compared the chemical compositions and determined aristolochic acid I (AA-I) and aristolochic acid II (AA-II) in the four parts viz. outer pericarp, inner pericarp, septum, and seed. Ultra-high performance liquid chromatography equipped with quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UHPLC-QTOF-MS) was applied for chemical profiling. Ultra-high performance liquid coupled with triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (UHPLC-QqQ-MS) was employed to quantify AA-I and AA-II in different parts. It was found that the chemical compositions of the four parts varied both qualitatively and quantitatively. A total of 10 AAAs, including 5 aristolochic acids and 5 aristolactams, together with 3 alkaloids, were unambiguously or tentatively identified by UHPLC-QTOF-MS. The quantitatively analytical results obtained by UHPLC-QqQ-MS showed that AA-I and AA-II exclusively accumulate in the seeds of A. contorta. These findings provide supporting data for the rational selection of medicinal parts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-400
Number of pages9
JournalChinese Journal of Natural Medicines
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2017

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Complementary and alternative medicine

User-Defined Keywords

  • Aristolochia contorta
  • Aristolochic acids
  • Quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry
  • Tissue-specific profiling
  • Triple quadrupole mass spectrometry
  • Ultra-high performance liquid chromatography


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