HS-GC-IMS-Based metabonomics study of Baihe Jizihuang Tang in a rat model of chronic unpredictable mild stress.

The aim of this study was to investigate the differences in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) obtained from the feces of a Baihe Jizihuang Tang (BHT)-treated rat depression model. Rats were subjected to chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS), and the differences in VOCs were analyzed by headspace-gas chromatography-ion mobility spectrometry (HS-GC-IMS), NIST software, principal component analysis, and orthogonal partial least squares discriminant analysis.

Eleven biomarkers were identified on the basis of VOC migration time, and their relative peak intensities were analyzed. A metabonomic model was established using multivariate statistical analysis.

The study demonstrated the metabonomics of CUMS rats and the intervention effect of BHT and also highlighted the potential therapeutic effects of the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) Jingfang for the clinical treatment of complex diseases, which was in line with the holistic and systemic approaches of TCM.

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This study augments the use of metabonomics based on HS-GC-IMS in research studies. Using this method, there is no need to pre-process samples by extraction or derivatization, and the VOC component of the sample can be detected directly and rapidly. In conclusion, this study establishes a simple, convenient, and fast technique, which can help identify clinical biomarkers for rapid medical diagnosis.