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Hepatic Metabolism and Disposition of Baicalein via the Coupling of Conjugation Enzymes and Transporters—In Vitro and In Vivo Evidences

Li Zhang, Chenrui Li, Ge Lin, Peter Krajcsi, Zhong Zuo AAPS J. 2011 Sep;13(3):378-89. Epub 2011 May 24.


Baicalein (Ba) was found to be subject to serious first-pass metabolism after oral administration. We previously revealed the important role of intestine in the low oral bioavailability of Ba. The present study aims to evaluate the hepatic metabolism and disposition of Ba. Ba was given to Sprague-Dawley rats through bolus or infusion via intravenous or intra-portal route of administrations. Both plasma and bile samples at different time intervals were obtained. Concentrations of Ba and potential metabolites in the collected samples were analyzed with HPLC/UV and identified by LC/MS/MS, respectively. Plasma concentration versus time profiles of Ba obtained from intravenous and intra-portal administrations were compared to estimate the extent of hepatic metabolism. In addition, transport studies of baicalein-7-glucuronide (BG), one of the major metabolites of Ba, were carried out using transfected cell systems overexpressing various human organic anion-transporting polypeptide (OATP) isoforms to estimate the specific transporters involved in the hepatic disposition of Ba metabolites. The results showed that liver, in addition to intestine, also conferred extensive metabolism to Ba. Several mono- and di-conjugates of Ba, which were mainly glucuronides, sulfates, and methylates, were found in bile. The transport study demonstrated that besides MRPs and BCRP, human OATP2B1 and OATP1B3 in liver might also mediate the secretion of BG to bile. In summary, liver plays an important role in the metabolism of Ba and transport of its conjugated metabolites.

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