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Am J Physiol. 1999 Jul;277(1):G120-6. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.1999.277.1.G120.

Part of quercetin absorbed in the small intestine is conjugated and further secreted in the intestinal lumen.

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Laboratoire des Maladies Métaboliques et des Micronutriments, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique de Clermont-Ferrand/Theix, 63122 Saint Genès Champanelle, France.


Rutin and quercetin absorption and metabolism were investigated in rats after in situ perfusion of jejunum plus ileum (15 nmol/min). In contrast to rutin, a high proportion of quercetin (two-thirds) disappeared during perfusion, reflecting extensive transfer into the intestinal wall. Net quercetin absorption was not complete (2.1 nmol/min), inasmuch as 52% were reexcreted in the lumen as conjugated derivatives (7.7 nmol/min). Enterohepatic recycling contribution of flavonoids was excluded by catheterization of the biliary duct before perfusion. After a 30-min perfusion period, 0.71 microM of quercetin equivalents were detected in plasma, reflecting a significant absorption from the small intestine. The differential hydrolysis of effluent samples by glucuronidase and/or sulfatase indicates that the conjugated forms released in the lumen were 1) glucuronidated derivatives of quercetin and of its methoxylated forms (64%) and 2) sulfated form of quercetin (36%). In vitro quercetin glucuronides synthetized using jejunal and ileal microsomal fractions were similar to those recovered in the effluent of perfusion. These data suggest that glucuronidation and sulfatation take place in intestinal cells, whereas no glucurono-sulfoconjugates could be detected in the effluent. The present work shows that a rapid quercetin absorption in the small intestine is very effective together with its active conjugation in intestinal cells.

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