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Identification of metabolites of kurarinone from <i>Sophora flavescens</i> Ait in rat urine by ultra-performance liquid chromatography with linear ion trap orbitrap mass spectrometry

Yi Liu
Zhi Xian Mo
Chun Guo Wang
Rong Huang
Feng Wang
Lei Chen


Purpose: To study the in vivo metabolism of kurarinone, a lavandulyl flavanone which is a major constituent of Kushen and a marker compound with many biological activities, using ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled with linear ion trap Orbitrap mass spectrometry (UPLC-LTQ-Orbitrap-MS).

Methods: Six male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into two groups. First, kurarinone was suspended in 0.5 % carboxymethylcellulose sodiumĀ  (CMC-Na) aqueous solution, and was given to rats (n = 3, 2 mL for each rat) orally at 50 mg/kg. A 2 mL aliquot of 0.5 % CMC-Na aqueous solution was administered to the rats in the control group. Next, urine samples were collected over 0-24 h after the oral administrations and all urine samples were pretreated by a solid phase extraction (SPE) method. Finally, all samples were analyzed by a UPLC-LTQ-Orbitrap mass spectrometry coupled with an electrospray ionization source (ESI) that was operated in the negative ionization mode.

Results: A total of 11 metabolites, including the parent drug and 10 phase II metabolites in rat urine, were first detected and interpreted based on accurate mass measurement, fragment ions, and chromatographic retention times. The results were based on the assumption that kurarinone glucuronidation was the dominantĀ  metabolite that was excreted in rat urine.

Conclusion: The results from this work indicate that kurarinone in vivo is typically transformed to nontoxic glucuronidation metabolites, and these findings may help to characterize the metabolic profile of kurarinone.

Keywords: Kurarinone, Metabolites, Sophora flavescens Ait., Glucuronidation metabolites