Herniaria hirsuta L. (Caryophyllaceae) is used for treatment of urinary stones and as a diuretic. Little is known about the active compounds and the mechanism of action. The phytochemical composition of H. hirsuta was comprehensively characterized using UHPLC-UV-HRMS (Ultrahigh-Performance Liquid Chromatography-Ultraviolet-High Resolution Mass Spectrometry) data. An in vitro gastrointestinal model was used to simulate biotransformation, which allowed the monitoring of the relative abundances of individual compounds over time. To analyze the longitudinal multiclass LC-MS data, XCMS, a platform that enables online metabolomics data processing and interpretation, and EDGE, a statistical method for time series data, were used to extract significant differential profiles from the raw data. An interactive Shiny app in R was used to rate the quality of the resulting features. These ratings were used to train a random forest model. The most abundant aglycone after gastrointestinal biotransformation was subjected to hepatic biotransformation using human S9 fractions. A diversity of compounds was detected, mainly saponins and flavonoids. Besides the known saponins, 15 new saponins were tentatively identified as glycosides of medicagenic acid, acetylated medicagenic acid and zanhic acid. It is suggested that metabolites of phytochemicals present in H. hirsuta, most likely saponins, are responsible for the pharmaceutical effects. It was observed that the relative abundance of saponin aglycones increased, indicating loss of sugar moieties during colonic biotransformation, with medicagenic acid as the most abundant aglycone. Hepatic biotransformation of this aglycone resulted in different metabolites formed by phase I and II reactions.
Peeters Laura, Van der Auwera Anastasia, Beirnaert Charlie, Bijttebier Sebastiaan, Laukens Kris, Pieters Luc, Hermans Nina, Foubert Kenn
Caryophyllaceae, Herniaria hirsuta, dynamic metabolomics, machine learning, saponins, urolithiasis