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Xenobiotica. 2012 Dec;42(12):1206-12. doi: 10.3109/00498254.2012.694492. Epub 2012 Jun 9.

Isolation and identification of the metabolites of paeonol in human urine.

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Department of Natural Products Chemistry, Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, Shenyang, People's Republic of China.


Paeonol, a major component of Paeonia suffruticosa Andrews, is used in clinical situations in China as a natural anti-inflammatory agent. The aim of the present study is to investigate the metabolism of paeonol in humans. Six metabolites were isolated from human urine after oral administration of paeonol, and their structures were elucidated as resacetophenone (M1), resacetophenone-2-O-sulfate (M2), 2-hydroxy-4-methoxyacetophenone-5-O-sulfate(M3), 2-hydroxy-4-methoxyacetophenone-5-O-glucopyranuronoside (M4), 2-hydroxyacetophenone-4-O-glucopyranuronoside (M5) and 2,5-dihydroxy-4-methoxyacetophenone(M6) by a series of analyses involving mass spectrometry, (1)H NMR, (13)C NMR and NOESY spectra. In addition, three more metabolites 2,4-dihydroxyacetophenone-5-O-sulfate (M7), paeonol-2-O-glucopyranuronoside (M8) and paeonol-2-O-sulfate (M9), were identified in human urine by using a UPLC/Q-TOF-MS/MS method. This is the first study of paeonol metabolism in humans. Based on the identified metabolites, possible metabolic pathways of paeonol in humans are proposed. Paeonol is metabolized mainly by hydroxylation and demethylation to give the corresponding phase I metabolites, M1, M6 and 2,4,5-trihydroxyacetophenone, and which then underwent conjugation with glucuronic acid or sulfuric acid to form phase II metabolites.

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