Chemical analysis of twelve lignans in the fruit of Schisandra sphenanthera by HPLC-PAD-MS

Phytomedicine. 2012 Oct 15;19(13):1234-41. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2012.07.017. Epub 2012 Aug 18.


The fruit of S. sphenanthera, known as "Nanwuweizi", has been widely used as traditional Chinese medicine for several thousand years. However, the current determination methods are not sufficient to evaluate its quality. An accurate, sensitive and reliable high performance liquid chromatography coupled with photodiode array detection and mass spectrum (HPLC-PAD-MS) was developed for quantitative analysis of twelve lignans (schisandrol A, schisandrol B, gomisin G, schisantherin A, schisantherin D, schisanhenol, (+)-anwulignan, deoxyschisandrin, schisandrin B, schisandrin C, 6-O-benzoylgomisin O, and interiotherin A) in the fruit of S. sphenanthera. The chromatographic conditions and extraction procedures were optimized during the study. The identity of chromatographic peaks in the sample HPLC profiles was confirmed by comparing the retention time, ultraviolet (UV) spectra and MS data with reference compounds. The validated method was successfully used to determine the twelve lignans in the samples collected from different localities in China. The hierarchical clustering analysis (HCA) and principal components analysis (PCA) were successfully applied to the data of twelve lignans from the HPLC profiles in sixteen batches of the fruit of S. sphenanthera to discriminate the samples with different sources. Moreover, the results of the loading plot of the PCA indicated that schisantherin A, (+)-anwulignan, and deoxyshisandrin were found to be the main constituents in the fruit of S. sphenanthera, and which could be chosen as the chemical markers for evaluate the quality of the fruit of S. sphenanthera. The results indicated that the developed method was readily utilized as a quality evaluation method for the fruit of S. sphenanthera.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • China
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Lignans / analysis*
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Schisandra / chemistry*


  • Lignans