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Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2009 Mar 23;73(3):517-23. Epub 2009 Mar 7.

Different profiles of quercetin metabolites in rat plasma: comparison of two administration methods.

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  • 1Department of Food Science, Graduate School of Nutrition and Biosciences, The University of Tokushima, Tokushima, Japan.


The bioavailability of polyphenols in human and rodents has been discussed regarding their biological activity. We found different metabolite profiles of quercetin in rat plasma between two administration procedures. A single intragastric administration (50 mg/kg) resulted in the appearance of a variety of metabolites in the plasma, whereas only a major fraction was detected by free access (1% quercetin). The methylated/non-methylated metabolites ratio was much higher in the free access group. Mass spectrometric analyses showed that the fraction from free access contained highly conjugated quercetin metabolites such as sulfo-glucuronides of quercetin and methylquercetin. The metabolite profile of human plasma after an intake of onion was similar to that with intragastric administration in rats. In vitro oxidation of human low-density lipoprotein showed that methylation of the catechol moiety of quercetin significantly attenuated the antioxidative activity. These results might provide information about the bioavailability of quercetin when conducting animal experiments.

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