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Molecules. 2019 May 10;24(9). pii: E1816. doi: 10.3390/molecules24091816.

Simultaneous Determination and Pharmacokinetic Characterization of Glycyrrhizin, Isoliquiritigenin, Liquiritigenin, and Liquiritin in Rat Plasma Following Oral Administration of Glycyrrhizae Radix Extract.

Author information

1
College of Pharmacy and Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 41566, Korea. gksdbwls2@nate.com.
2
College of Pharmacy, Dankook University, Cheon-an 31116, Korea. qlcska8520@naver.com.
3
College of Pharmacy and Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 41566, Korea. ejy125@gmail.com.
4
College of Pharmacy, Dankook University, Cheon-an 31116, Korea. isssong@knu.ac.kr.
5
College of Pharmacy and Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 41566, Korea. minkoochoi@dankook.ac.kr.

Abstract

Glycyrrhizae Radix is widely used as herbal medicine and is effective against inflammation, various cancers, and digestive disorders. We aimed to develop a sensitive and simultaneous analytical method for detecting glycyrrhizin, isoliquiritigenin, liquiritigenin, and liquiritin, the four marker components of Glycyrrhizae Radix extract (GRE), in rat plasma using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry and to apply this analytical method to pharmacokinetic studies. Retention times for glycyrrhizin, isoliquiritigenin, liquiritigenin, and liquiritin were 7.8 min, 4.1 min, 3.1 min, and 2.0 min, respectively, suggesting that the four analytes were well separated without any interfering peaks around the peak elution time. The lower limit of quantitation was 2 ng/mL for glycyrrhizin and 0.2 ng/mL for isoliquiritigenin, liquiritigenin, and liquiritin; the inter- and intra-day accuracy, precision, and stability were less than 15%. Plasma concentrations of glycyrrhizin, isoliquiritigenin, liquiritigenin, and liquiritin were quantified for 24 h after a single oral administration of 1 g/kg GRE to four rats. Among the four components, plasma concentration of glycyrrhizin was the highest and exhibited a long half-life (23.1 ± 15.5 h). Interestingly, plasma concentrations of isoliquiritigenin and liquiritigenin were restored to the initial concentration at 4-10 h after the GRE administration, as evidenced by liquiritin biotransformation into isoliquiritigenin and liquiritigenin, catalyzed by fecal lysate and gut wall enzymes. In conclusion, our analytical method developed for detecting glycyrrhizin, isoliquiritigenin, liquiritigenin, and liquiritin could be successfully applied to investigate their pharmacokinetic properties in rats and would be useful for conducting further studies on the efficacy, toxicity, and biopharmaceutics of GREs and their marker components.

KEYWORDS:

Glycyrrhizae Radix extract; LC–MS/MS analysis; glycyrrhizin; isoliquiritigenin; liquiritigenin; liquiritin; pharmacokinetics

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