Multicomponent determination of traditional Chinese medicine preparation yin-zhi-huang injection by LC-MS/MS for screening of its potential bioactive candidates using HepaRG cells

Biomed Chromatogr. 2018 Feb;32(2). doi: 10.1002/bmc.4057. Epub 2017 Sep 4.


Yin-zhi-huang (YZH) injection is an injectable multiherbal prescription derived from the ancient Chinese medicine formula of Yin-chen-hao-tang, which is widely used in the clinic for the treatment of jaundice and chronic liver diseases. To date, the systematic study of the components in this multiherbal prescription still lacks suitable analytical methods that are able to simultaneously detect a broad array of components at low concentrations. In this study, a new liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method using dynamic multiple reaction monitoring mode was developed to determine multiple peaks in traditional Chinese medicine preparation YZH injection. This simple, selective and sensitive method enabled the quantification of 22 components with standard materials with a lower limit of quantification of 1.46-12.5 ng/mL in cell lysates. This method was successfully applied to celluar uptake and binding investigation of components in YZH injection. The results indicated that this strategy might be a useful approach for rapidly screening of the potential bioactive candidates from YZH injection, and the discovered candidates could be used to investigate the pharmacodynamics in further studies.

Keywords: HepaRG cells; LC-MS/MS; Yin-zhi-huang injection; bioactive candidates; dynamic multiple reaction monitoring.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / analysis*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / chemistry
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Organic Chemicals / analysis
  • Organic Chemicals / chemistry
  • Organic Chemicals / metabolism
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods*


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Organic Chemicals
  • yin zhi huang