Journal of ethnopharmacology

Determination and pharmacokinetic study of four xanthones in rat plasma after oral administration of Gentianella acuta extract by UHPLC-ESI-MS/MS.

PMID 26297839


Gentianella acuta (Michx.) Hulten belonging to the family of Gentianaceae is an annual plant mainly distributed in north of China, Mongolia plateau, Siberia and Far East areas of Russia. The whole herb was used as folk medicine to treat hepatitis, jaundice, headache and fever in Mongolia native medicine. Xanthones are the main active compounds of G. acuta and possess a lot of pharmacological and biological activities A selective and sensitive UHPLC-MS/MS method was developed and validated for the determination and pharmacokinetic study of swertianolin, norswertianolin, bellidifolin and demethylbellidifolin (DMB) in rat plasma after oral administration of G. acuta extract. Sample preparation involved a liquid-liquid extraction of the analytes with ethyl acetate. Butylparaben was employed as an internal standard. LC separation was achieved on an Agilent SB-C18 RRHD column (1.8 μm, 150 mm × 2.1 mm) at 30°C with an isocratic mobile phase consisting of acetonitrile-water (0.1% formic acid) (90:10, v/v). The detection was accomplished by multiple-reaction monitoring (MRM) scanning with electrospray ionization (ESI) source operating in the negative ionization mode. The optimized mass transition ion-pairs (m/z) monitored for swertianolin, norswertianolin, bellidifolin, DMB and I.S. were 435.1/272.0, 420.8/258.9, 273.0/258.0, 258.9/214.9 and 193.0/92.0, respectively. The current UHPLC-MS/MS assay was validated for linearity, intra-day and inter-day precisions, accuracy, extraction recovery and stability and was suitable for pharmacokinetic studies of the four xanthones after oral administration of G. acuta extract. The time to reach the maximum plasma concentration (Tmax) was 0.40 ± 0.12 h for swertianolin, 0.27 ± 0.07 h for norswertianolin, 1.00 ± 0.18 h for bellidifolin and 0.94 ± 0.15 h for demethylbellidifolin. The elimination half-time (t1/2) of swertianolin, norswertianolin, bellidifolin and DMB, was 19.7 ± 9.64 h, 11.3 ± 4.51 h, 19.9 ± 8.11 h and 24.9 ± 8.19 h, respectively. This study described a simple, sensitive and validated UHPLC-MS/MS method for simultaneous determination of four xanthones in rat plasma after oral administration of G. acuta extract, and investigated on their pharmacokinetic studies as well.