Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/98784
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Type: Journal article
Title: Combined DNA, toxicological and heavy metal analyses provides an auditing toolkit to improve pharmacovigilance of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)
Author: Coghlan, M.
Maker, G.
Crighton, E.
Haile, J.
Murray, D.
White, N.
Byard, R.
Bellgard, M.
Mullaney, I.
Trengove, R.
Allcock, R.
Nash, C.
Hoban, C.
Jarrett, K.
Edwards, R.
Musgrave, I.
Bunce, M.
Citation: Scientific Reports, 2015; 5(1):17475-1-17475-9
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Issue Date: 2015
ISSN: 2045-2322
2045-2322
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Megan L. Coghlan, Garth Maker, Elly Crighton, James Haile, Dáithí C. Murray, Nicole E. White, Roger W. Byard, Matthew I. Bellgard, Ian Mullaney, Robert Trengove, Richard J. N. Allcock, Christine Nash, Claire Hoban, Kevin Jarrett, Ross Edwards, Ian F. Musgrave & Michael Bunce
Abstract: Globally, there has been an increase in the use of herbal remedies including traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). There is a perception that products are natural, safe and effectively regulated, however, regulatory agencies are hampered by a lack of a toolkit to audit ingredient lists, adulterants and constituent active compounds. Here, for the first time, a multidisciplinary approach to assessing the molecular content of 26 TCMs is described. Next generation DNA sequencing is combined with toxicological and heavy metal screening by separation techniques and mass spectrometry (MS) to provide a comprehensive audit. Genetic analysis revealed that 50% of samples contained DNA of undeclared plant or animal taxa, including an endangered species of Panthera (snow leopard). In 50% of the TCMs, an undeclared pharmaceutical agent was detected including warfarin, dexamethasone, diclofenac, cyproheptadine and paracetamol. Mass spectrometry revealed heavy metals including arsenic, lead and cadmium, one with a level of arsenic >10 times the acceptable limit. The study showed 92% of the TCMs examined were found to have some form of contamination and/or substitution. This study demonstrates that a combination of molecular methodologies can provide an effective means by which to audit complementary and alternative medicines.
Keywords: Humans; Metals, Heavy; Drugs, Chinese Herbal; Medicine, Chinese Traditional; Toxicity Tests; Drug Contamination; Pharmacovigilance
Rights: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
RMID: 0030041605
DOI: 10.1038/srep17475
Grant ID: http://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/FT0991741
http://purl.org/au-research/grants/nhmrc/1061329
Appears in Collections:Pathology publications

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