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Biomed Chromatogr. 2018 Mar;32(3). doi: 10.1002/bmc.4123. Epub 2017 Nov 9.

Simultaneous determination of usnic, diffractaic, evernic and barbatic acids in rat plasma by ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography-quadrupole exactive Orbitrap mass spectrometry and its application to pharmacokinetic studies.

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School of Pharmacy, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, China.
Shanghai TCM-integrated Hospital, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, China.
The MOE Key Laboratory for Standardization of Chinese Medicines and The SATCM Key Laboratory for New Resources and Quality Evaluation of Chinese Medicine, Shanghai Key Laboratory for TCM Complex Prescription, Institute of Chinese Materia Medica, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, China.
Institute of Liver Diseases, Shuguang Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, China.


Usnea longissima Ach. (Usnea) is used in pharmaceuticals, food and cosmetics. Evernic acid (EA), barbatic acid (BA), diffractaic acid (DA) and usnic acid (UA) are the most typical ingredients in U. longissima and exert a wide variety of biological functions. The study aimed to develop a sensitive method for simultaneous analysis of EA, BA, DA and UA in rat plasma and was applied to pharmacokinetic studies after consumption of UA and ethanol extract from U. longissima (UE). The samples were separated on a BEH C18 column by gradient elution with 0.5% formic acid in water and in methanol. The relative molecular masses of analytes were obtained in full-scan range from 50.0 to 750.0 m/z under negative ionization mode by UPLC-Q-Exactive Orbitrap MS. All validation parameters, such as lower limit of quantitation, linearity, specificity, precision, accuracy, extraction recovery, matrix effect and stability, were within acceptable ranges and the method was appropriate for biological specimen analysis. The pharmacokinetic results indicated that the absolute bioavailabilities of UA after oral administration of UA and UE reached 69.2 and 146.9%, respectively. Compared with UA in UE, the relative bioavailability of DA, BA and EA reached 103.7, 10.4 and 0.7% after oral administration of UE.


UPLC-Q-Exactive Orbitrap MS; Usnea longissima Ach; depsides; dibenzofuran derivatives; pharmacokinetics; usnic acid

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