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Separation and purification of lanosterol, dihydrolanosterol, and cholesterol from lanolin by high‐performance counter‐current chromatography dual‐mode elution method

Pei, Hairun, Ma, Xiaotong, Pan, Yan, Han, Tian, Lu, Zhifang, Wu, Ruijuan, Cao, Xueli, Zheng, Jimin
Journal of separation science 2019 v.42 no.12 pp. 2171-2178
cataract, cholesterol, countercurrent chromatography, drugs, ethyl acetate, hexane, high performance liquid chromatography, lanolin, lanosterol, proteins, saponification, solvents
Lanosterol is a potential drug for cataracts treatment, which can reverse the aggregation of intracrystalline proteins. The low concentration in lanolin calls for high‐performance separation methods. In this study, a counter‐current chromatography dual‐mode elution method was developed for the first time to separate and purify lanosterol from hexane extract of lanolin after saponification, in which the column was first eluted with the lower phase as mobile phase in head‐to‐tail mode, followed by the upper phase in the tail‐to‐head mode. High purity of lanosterol, dihydrolanosterol, and cholesterol can be obtained simultaneously. A solvent system composed of n‐heptane/acetonitrile/ethyl acetate (5:5:1, v/v/v) was selected and optimized via partition coefficient determination. Compounds such as 111 mg lanosterol, 84 mg dihydrolanosterol, and 183 mg cholesterol with high purity of 99.77, 95.71, and 91.43%, respectively, analyzed by high‐performance liquid chromatography were obtained within 80 min from 700 mg crude extract from 1.78 g lanolin. The method was also used to improve the purity of commercial lanosterol product from 66.97 to above 99%. Counter‐current chromatography could serve as a potential and powerful technique for commercial production of highly pure lanosterol.