Alteration in the number and composition of intestinal microbiota affects the metabolism of several xenobiotics. Gastrodin, isolated from Gastrodia elata,
is prone to be hydrolyzed by intestinal microbiota. In the present study, the role of intestinal microbiota in gastrodin metabolism was investigated in vitro and in vivo. Gastrodin was incubated in an anaerobic condition with intestinal contents prepared from vehicle- and antibiotics-treated rats and the disappearance of gastrodin and formation of 4-hydroxybenzyl alcohol (4-HBA) was measured by liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectroscopy (LC-MS/MS). The results showed that almost all gastrodin incubated with control intestinal contents was metabolized to its aglycone in time- and concentration-dependent manners. In contrast, much less formation of 4-HBA was detected in intestinal contents from antibiotics-treated rats. Subsequently, in vivo pharmacokinetic study revealed that the antibiotic pretreatment of rats significantly affected the metabolism of gastrodin to 4-HBA. When administered orally, gastrodin was rapidly absorbed rapidly into plasma, metabolized to 4-HBA, and disappeared from the body within six hours. Interestingly, the pharmacokinetic parameters of 4-HBA were changed remarkably in antibiotics-treated rats, compared to control rats. The results clearly indicated that the antibiotics treatment of rats suppressed the ability of intestinal microbiota to metabolize gastrodin to 4-HBA and that, thereby, the pharmacodynamic action was significantly modulated.
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