Metabolic profile of danshen in rats by HPLC-LTQ-Orbitrap mass spectrometry

J Zhejiang Univ Sci B. 2018;19(3):227-244. doi: 10.1631/jzus.B1700105.


Danshen, the dried root of Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge (Lamiaceae), is one of the traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs) most commonly used for the treatment of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. However, little is known about the chemical and metabolic profiles of danshen in vitro or in vivo. In particular, more information is needed in relation to the 50% ethanol extracts usually used in danshen formulations such as Fufang Xueshuantong Capsules and Fufang Danshen tablets. High-performance liquid chromatography coupled with a linear ion trap-Orbitrap mass spectrometer (HPLC-LTQ-Orbitrap) provides a sensitive and accurate method for analyzing the composition of samples. This method was used to determine the in vitro and in vivo chemical and metabolic profiles of danshen. Sixty-nine components of danshen extract and 118 components of danshen in rat plasma, urine, feces, and bile were unambiguously or tentatively identified. These results not only revealed the material composition of danshen, but also provided a comprehensive research approach for the identification of multi-constituents in TCMs.

Keywords: Danshen; Chemical profile; Metabolic profile; HPLC-LTQ-Orbitrap.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / analysis
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Salvia miltiorrhiza
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • dan-shen root extract