A novel high performance liquid chromatography-electrochemical detector (HPLC-ECD) analytical system was developed in this study by integratedly utilizing ionic liquid (IL) of 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium bromide and an additive of gold nanoparticles. The resulted pilot study was first performed to assess the effects of 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium bromide and gold nanoparticles on the chromatographic characteristics of five phenolic acids in Xuebijing injection, including danshensu (DSS), protocatechuic acid (PA), protocatechuic aldehyde (PAH), hydroxy safflower yellow A (HSYA) and ferulic acid (FA). It was notable to observe that retainability of the phenolic acids were markly lowered by IL addition. Compared with the cases without IL addition, the retention times of DSS, PA, PAH, HSYA and FA have decreased 2.851, 1.532, 1.53, 0.818 and 0.552 min, respectively when 0.6% IL in the mobile phase. In addition, the corresponding theoretical plate numbers and peak areas for these compounds were significantly increased. Area response for DSS, PA, PAH, HSYA and FA were enhanced by 772%, 628%, 584%, 703% and 600%, respectively. It was observed that nano-gold catalysis power enabled peak areas of DSS, PAH, FA and PA to enhance 5.7, 6.2, 8.5 and 66.5 times relative to the case with addition of IL. Altogether, the optimized HPLC-ECD system was successfully applied to the pharmacokinetics study of Xuebijing injection with underlying applicability to in vivo and in vitro analysis of a variety of natural product from Chinese medicine plants, TCM formulae and associated patent TCM preparation.
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