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Molecules 2017, 22(2), 214;

Pharmacokinetics Studies of 12 Alkaloids in Rat Plasma after Oral Administration of Zuojin and Fan-Zuojin Formulas

State Key Laboratory of Natural and Biomimetic Drugs, Department of Natural Medicines, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Peking University Health Science Center, Peking University, No. 38, Xueyuan Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100191, China
Department of Pharmacognosy, School of Pharmacy, China Medical University, Shenyang 110122, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 December 2016 / Accepted: 24 January 2017 / Published: 30 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Products Chemistry)
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Zuojin formula (ZJ) is a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) prescription consisted of Coptidis Rhizoma (CR) and Euodiae Fructus (EF), and has been used to treat gastrointestinal (GI) disease for more than 700 years. Fan-Zuojin formula (FZJ) is a related TCM prescription also consisted of CR and EF with the opposite proportion. In recent years, ZJ was getting more attention for its antitumor potential, but the indeterminate pharmacokinetic (PK) behavior restricted its clinical applications, and the PK differences between ZJ and FZJ were also largely unknown. Consequently it is necessary to carry out a full-scale PK study to demonstrate the physiological disposition of ZJ, as well as the comparative PK study between ZJ and FZJ to illustrate the compatibility dose effects. Therefore a liquid chromatographic–tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS) method was established and validated for the determinations of coptisine, epiberberine, palmatine, berberine, 8-oxocoptisine, 8-oxoepiberberine, noroxyhydrastinine, corydaldine, dehydroevodiamine, evodiamine, wuchuyuamide-I, and evocarpine in rat plasma. PK characteristics of 12 alkaloids after oral administration of ZJ and FZJ were compared, and the result was analyzed and discussed with the help of an in silico study. Then an integrated PK study was carried out with the AUC-based weighting method and the total drug concentration method. The established method has been successfully applied to reveal the PK profiles of the 12 alkaloids in rat plasma after oral administration of ZJ and FZJ. The results showed that: (1) double peaks were observed in the plasma concentration-time (C–T) curves of the alkaloids after ZJ administration; but the C–T curves approximately matched the two-compartment model after FZJ administration; (2) There were wide variations in the absorption levels of these alkaloids; and even for a certain alkaloid, the dose modified systemic exposure levels and elimination rate also varied significantly after administration of ZJ and FZJ extracts. The results could be interpreted as follows: firstly, inhibition effect on GI motility caused by the high content CR alkaloids (especially berberine) in ZJ could delay the Tmax, and increase the absorption and systemic exposure levels of the other alkaloids, and also lead to the double peak phenomenon of these alkaloids. However, for quaternary protoberberine alkaloids (QPA), double peaks were primarily caused by the different Ka value in two intestinal absorption sites. Secondly, absorption was the major obstacle to the systemic exposure level of the alkaloids from CR and EF. In silico and PK studies suggested that the absorption of these alkaloids, except QPAs, mainly depended on their solubility rather than permeability. Thirdly, EF could promote the absorption and accelerate the elimination of QPAs, and had a greater influence on the former than the latter. At last the integrated PK analysis suggested that berberine and dehydroevodiamine could be regarded as the representative components to reflect the PK behaviors of CR and EF alkaloids after administration of ZJ and FZJ. In conclusion, the absorption, elimination and systemic exposure level of these alkaloids were mainly influenced by the proportion of EF and CR, the pharmacological effect on GI motility, and the physicochemical property of these alkaloids. These findings would be helpful for a better understanding of the activities and clinical applications of ZJ, FZJ and other related TCM prescriptions. View Full-Text
Keywords: Zuojin formula; Fan-Zuojin formula; Coptidis Rhizoma; Euodiae Fructus; alkaloids; pharmacokinetic Zuojin formula; Fan-Zuojin formula; Coptidis Rhizoma; Euodiae Fructus; alkaloids; pharmacokinetic

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Qian, P.; Zhang, Y.-B.; Yang, Y.-F.; Xu, W.; Yang, X.-W. Pharmacokinetics Studies of 12 Alkaloids in Rat Plasma after Oral Administration of Zuojin and Fan-Zuojin Formulas. Molecules 2017, 22, 214.

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