Systematic characterization of the absorbed components of Ligustri Lucidi Fructus and their metabolic pathways in rat plasma by ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography-Q-Exactive Orbitrap tandem mass spectrometry combined with network pharmacology.J Sep Sci. 2021 Dec; 44(24):4343-4367.JS
Ligustri Lucidi Fructus is a dried and mature fruit of Ligustrum lucidum Ait., which has the effects of nourishing liver and kidney. Herein, an accurate and sensitive method was established for the separation and identification of the absorbed constituents and metabolites of Ligustri Lucidi Fructus in rat plasma based on ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography-Q-Exactive Orbitrap tandem mass spectrometry. A total of 73 prototype constituents and 148 metabolites were identified or characterized in administered plasma, and the possible metabolic pathways of constituents mainly involved hydroxylation, sulfation, demethylation, and glucuronidation. Besides, the network pharmacology was further investigated to illuminate its potential mechanism of treatment for liver injury by the biological targets regulating related pathways. Network pharmacological analysis showed that target components through 399 targets regulate 220 pathways. The docking results showed that 36 key target components were closely related to liver injury. Overall, the study clearly presented the metabolic processes of Ligustri Lucidi Fructus and gave a comprehensive metabolic profile of Ligustri Lucidi Fructus in vivo first. Combining with network pharmacology and molecular docking discovered potential drug targets and disclose the biological processes of Ligustri Lucidi Fructus, which will be a viable step toward uncovering the secret mask of study for traditional Chinese medicine.