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J Ethnopharmacol. 2014 Feb 3;151(2):846-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2013.11.038. Epub 2013 Dec 10.

Pharmacokinetic mechanism of enhancement by Radix Pueraria flavonoids on the hyperglycemic effects of Cortex Mori extract in rats.

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  • 1Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100193, PR China.
  • 2Beijing Peking University, WBL Biotech Co. Ltd., Beijing 100080, PR China.
  • 3Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100193, PR China. Electronic address:



Diabetes mellitus, characterized by abnormal blood glucose evaluation, is a serious chronic disease. In the treatment of the disease, α-glycosidase inhibitors play an important role for controlling the postprandial blood glucose level. Cortex Mori, a traditional Chinese herbal medicine, has a long history of use for the treatment of headaches, cough, edema and diabetes. Modern pharmacological studies have shown that the herb has beneficial effects on the suppression of postprandial blood glucose levels by inhibiting α-glycosidase activity in the small intestine. 1-Deoxynojirimycin (DNJ), the main active ingredient of this herb, is recognized as a potent α-glycosidase inhibitor. Our previous studies have shown that the hypoglycemic effect of Cortex Mori extract (CME) was significantly improved when giving CME in combination with Radix Pueraria flavonoids (RPF). In the present study, the pharmacokinetics and intestinal permeability of DNJ were comparatively investigated in rats after being given orally or by intestinal perfusion with CME alone or in CME-RPF pairs, to explore the mechanism of this synergistic effect.


The role of RPF on the plasma and urine concentrations of DNJ from CME orally administered was investigated. Four groups of rats received a single oral dose of either CME or CME-RPF, at DNJ equivalent doses of 20 and 40mg/kg, respectively. After dosing, plasma and urine were collected and assayed by LC/MS/MS. In addition, another two groups of rats were used for small intestinal perfusion with CME or CME-RPF at DNJ concentration of 10µM.


Compared to the data when dosing with CME alone, the Cmax of DNJ were decreased from 5.78 to 2.94µg/ml (p<0.05) and 10.66 to 5.35µg/ml (p<0.01); Tmax were delayed from 0.40 to 0.55h and 0.35 to 0.50h (p<0.05); and MRT were significantly prolonged from 1.14 to 1.72h (p<0.05) and 0.95 to 1.62h (p<0.01), after dosing with CME-RPF at DNJ doses of 20 and 40mg/kg, respectively. In addition, the urinary recovery of DNJ over the first 4h after dosing significantly decreased from 48.76% to 33.86%. Effective permeability (Peff) of DNJ was decreased from 7.53×10(-3) to 3.09×10(-3)cm/s (p<0.05) when RPF was added to CME, when it was evaluated using the rat intestinal perfusion model.


All the above results demonstrate that RPF was able to suspend and delay the absorption of DNJ, but did not affect the total amount of DNJ in the body. The resulting higher concentration of DNJ in the small intestine produced a relatively stronger effect of depressing the elevation of the postprandial blood glucose level. These findings support the important role of RPF in the application of CME on blood glucose control.

© 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.


1-Deoxynojirimycin; Cortex Mori; Hyperglycemia; Intestinal perfusion; Pharmacokinetics; Radix Pueraria

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