Characterization of phenolic compounds in the fruits of Forsythia suspensa by high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry.Rapid Commun Mass Spectrom. 2007; 21(5):715-29.RC
Phenolic compounds are the major bioactive constituents of Forsythia suspensa, an important Chinese herbal medicine used for the treatment of various infectious diseases. Fragmentation behaviors of the phenolic compounds in F. suspensa were investigated by using a high-performance liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC/MS(n)) method. For common phenylethanoid glycosides, the loss of the caffeoyl moiety was the first fragmentation step, then sequential losses of rhamnose, hexose and water were observed in further fragmentations. If a substituent group presented in the beta position, the fragmentation was triggered by initial loss of a substituent group to form structures such as suspensaside A. Then it underwent the common fragmentation pathways as mentioned above, or eliminated characteristic residues of masses 134 or 152 Da, respectively. The latter pathway is reported here for the first time. The fragmentation behaviors of furofuran lignans displayed a typical cleavage of the tetrahydrofuran ring. However, the presence of a hydroxyl group at C-1 led to the successive loss of 30 Da. Neutral loss of CO(2) and benzyl cleavage were characteristic for lignans with a 2,3-dibenzylbutyrolactone skeleton. A neutral loss of 30 Da was also observed in the fragmentation pattern of flavonols. These fragmentation rules were implemented to analyze phenolic compounds in the fruits of F. suspensa. A total of 51 compounds, including 24 phenylethanoid glycosides, 21 lignans and 6 flavonols, were identified or tentatively characterized based on their retention times, UV spectra and MS fragmentation patterns.