20 May 2017
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.