A study on the effective substance of the Wu-tou formula based on the metabonomic method using UPLC-Q-TOF-HDMS
The Wu-tou formula (WTF) is a Chinese medicine formula which has been applied to treat rheumatic arthritis (RA) and pain of joints for more than a thousand years. In this study, a pharmacodynamics combined urinary metabonomic study using UPLC-Q-TOF-HDMS was performed to assess the holistic efficacy of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Wu-tou formula for treating RA in rats. Eighty male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into eight groups, named as the healthy control group (HG), the model group (AIA), the WTF group and five single herb groups. The treatment groups and the model group were induced for treating rheumatoid arthritis by using complete Freund's adjuvant. Histological results assessed the joint damage and several biochemical parameters such as IL-1β, TNF-α, SOD and MDA were used to evaluate inflammation injury and oxidative stress. Based on the results, a metabonomic investigation was conducted to study the mechanism of the WTF and single herb treatment groups for treating RA. Multivariate statistical analyses such as PCA and OPLS-DA were used to identify potential biomarkers in urine. As a result, twenty-six potential biomarkers have been found by comparison with the model and the WTF treatment group. The potential biomarkers mainly affect the phenylalanine, tyrosine and tryptophan biosynthesis pathway and the taurine and hypotaurine metabolism pathway. Aconiti Radix Preparata and Ephedrae Herba showed better effects on treating RA from the integrated evaluation by histological results, biochemical parameters and pattern recognition analysis. A comprehensive evaluation of the different therapeutic effects and the mechanism of each herb in the WTF for treating RA was performed in this research.