Bioassay- and liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry-guided acetylcholinesterase inhibitors from Picriafel-terrae

Pharmacogn Mag. 2013 Oct;9(Suppl 1):S25-31. doi: 10.4103/0973-1296.117857.


Background: Picria fel-terrae is a traditional Chinese medicine.

Materials and methods: A new approach to the search for acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors from Picria fel-terrae is presented.

Results: Bioassay- and LC-MS-guided fractionation of the ethyl acetate extract was from traditional Chinese medicine P.fel-terrae. Following primary extraction, the ethyl acetate extracts fraction of P.fel-terrae showed strong AChE inhibitory activities. So the sample was separated using highperformance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The effluent was split towards two identical 96-well fraction collectors, and the presence of the biologically interesting portion and chromatographic fractions could be readily detected by analyzing selected ion chromatograms through an electrophoresis-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESIMS) system for accurate mass measurement. One 96-well plate was used for a bioassay (AChE-inhibitory assay) and detected the bioactivity and position of the relevant peak in the chromatogram. The positive well in the second 96-well plate was used for identification by LC-(+) ESIMS.

Conclusion: As abovementioned, the AChE inhibitory constituents from P.fel-terrae by LC-bioassay-ESIMS were rapid identified. Liquid chromatography/ mass spectrometry (LC-MS) screening detected the presence of six active compounds, identified as picfeltarraenin IA (1), picfeltarraenin IB (2), picfeltarraenin IV (3), picfeltarraenin X (4), picfeltarraenin XI (5), and one unknown compound. The structures were further determined by 13C NMR. The six compounds expressed stronger AChE inhibition than the known AChE inhibitorTacrine. Above all, the value of this LC-bioassay-ESIMS methodology is highlighted by the finding and structure elucidation of the active constituents from many other structural families of natural products.

Keywords: Acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity; LC-bioassay-ESIMS; Picriafel-terrae.