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Determination of Toxic Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids in Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicines by UPLC-MS/MS and Accompanying Risk Assessment for Human Health

by 1,†, 1,†, 1,2, 1, 1, 1, 1,* and 1,*
1
The Key Laboratory of Bioactive Substances and Resources Utilization of Chinese Herbal Medicine, Ministry of Education, Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100193, China
2
State Key Laboratory of Natural and Biomimetic Drugs, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100191, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Yannis Dotsikas
Molecules 2021, 26(6), 1648; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26061648
Received: 1 March 2021 / Revised: 12 March 2021 / Accepted: 12 March 2021 / Published: 16 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Analytical Chemistry)
Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) are a class of natural toxins with hepatotoxicity, genotoxicity and carcinogenicity. They are endogenous and adulterated toxic components widely found in food and herbal products. In this study, a sensitive and efficient ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS) method was used to detect the PAs in 386 kinds of Chinese herbal medicines recorded in the Chinese Pharmacopoeia (2020). The estimated daily intake (EDI) of 0.007 μg/kg body weight (bw)/day was adopted as the safety baseline. The margin of exposure (MOE) approach was applied to evaluate the chronic exposure risk for the genotoxic and carcinogenic potential of PAs. Results showed that PAs was detected in 271 out of 386 samples with a content of 0.1–25,567.4 μg/kg, and there were 20 samples with EDI values above the baseline, 0.007 μg/kg bw/day. Beyond that, the MOE values for 10 out of 271 positive samples were below 10,000. Considering the actual situation, Haber’s rule was used to assume two weeks exposure every year during lifetime, and still the MOE values for four out of 271 positive samples were under 10,000, indicating these products may have potential health risk. The developed method was successfully applied to detect the PAs-containing Chinese herbal medicines. This study provides convincing data that can support risk management actions in China and a meaningful reference for the rational and safe use of Chinese herbal medicines. View Full-Text
Keywords: pyrrolizidine alkaloids; Chinese herbal medicines; estimated daily intake; Margin of exposure; risk assessment pyrrolizidine alkaloids; Chinese herbal medicines; estimated daily intake; Margin of exposure; risk assessment
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wang, J.; Zhang, M.; Chen, L.; Qiao, Y.; Ma, S.; Sun, D.; Si, J.; Liao, Y. Determination of Toxic Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids in Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicines by UPLC-MS/MS and Accompanying Risk Assessment for Human Health. Molecules 2021, 26, 1648. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26061648

AMA Style

Wang J, Zhang M, Chen L, Qiao Y, Ma S, Sun D, Si J, Liao Y. Determination of Toxic Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids in Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicines by UPLC-MS/MS and Accompanying Risk Assessment for Human Health. Molecules. 2021; 26(6):1648. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26061648

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wang, Junchi, Meng Zhang, Lihua Chen, Yue Qiao, Siqi Ma, Dian Sun, Jianyong Si, and Yonghong Liao. 2021. "Determination of Toxic Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids in Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicines by UPLC-MS/MS and Accompanying Risk Assessment for Human Health" Molecules 26, no. 6: 1648. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26061648

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