Niuhuang Jiedu tablet (NHJDT) is a realgar-containing traditional Chinese medicine. A direct inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) method for the simultaneous determination of 20 trace elements (Mg, K, Ca, Na, Fe, As, Zn, Sr, Ba, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb, V, Cr, Se, Co, Mo, Cd, Hg) in NHJDT, as well as in water, gastric fluid and intestinal fluid was established. Meanwhile, a high performance liquid chromatography-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (HPLC-ICP-MS) method was developed for the determination of arsenite (AsIII), arsenate (AsV), monomethylarsonic acid (MMA), dimethylarsinic acid (DMA) and for the identification of arsenobetaine (AsB) and arsenocholine (AsC) in these extracts. Both methods were fully validated in the respect of linearity, sensitivity, precision, stability and accuracy. The reliability of the ICP-MS method was further evaluated using a certified standard reference material prepared from dried tomato leaves (NIST, SRM 1572a). The analysis showed that some manufacturers formulated lower amount of realgar than required in the Chinese Pharmacopoeia (ChP) in their preparations. In addition, almost same extraction profiles for total As and inorganic As were found in water and in gastrointestinal fluids, while higher extraction rates for other 19 elements were observed in gastrointestinal fluids. Our findings show that the toxicities of Hg, Cu, Cd and Pb in NHJDP are low, while the real As toxicity in NHJDT should be deeply investigated.
- Arsenic species
- High performance liquid chromatography
- Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry
- Niuhuang Jiedu tablet
- Trace element