Simultaneous determination of six coptis alkaloids in urine and feces by LC–MS/MS and its application to excretion kinetics and the compatibility mechanism of Jiao‐Tai‐Wan in insomniac rats
Abstract Jiao‐Tai‐Wan (JTW) is a well‐known traditional Chinese medicine prescription composed of Rhizoma Coptidis (RC) and Cortex Cinnamon (10:1, g/g). It has been used to treat insomnia in China for centuries. This study investigates the excretion properties of coptis alkaloids from RC and JTW in normal and insomniac rats, and it examines the compatibility mechanism for this prescription. A new liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry method was developed for the simultaneous determination of six alkaloids – berberine, epiberberine, coptisine, jatrorrhizine, palmatine and magnoflorine – in rat urine and feces. The normal and model rats were orally treated with RC and JTW powder at a dosage containing 3.0 g kg −1 day −1 RC once per day for 7 days. Briefly, the results showed that the cumulative amounts of urinary and fecal excretion of the six alkaloids were significantly different in the pathological condition, as well as in compatibility. In normal rats, the urinary and fecal excretion of coptis alkaloids, especially berberine, coptisine and palmatine, increased significantly in the JTW group compared with the RC group, while the urinary and fecal excretion of six alkaloids decreased in insomniac rats. These data suggested that pathological conditions might have a notable influence on the excretion of alkaloids in rats, and demonstrated that the compatibility could promote better therapeutic effects through the accumulation of alkaloids in the body. These results might explain the compatibility of JTW.
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