Quantification and pharmacokinetics of alpinetin in rat plasma by UHPLC–MS/MS using protein precipitation coupled with dilution approach to eliminate matrix effects

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Alpinetin, a bioactive flavonoid, has attracted great attention due to its diverse therapeutic effects, namely anti-oxidant, anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory effects with low systemic toxicity. Various determination methods have been developed in quality control and plant chemistry areas. However, quantification and pharmacokinetics of alpinetin in biological matrix have not been studied. In the present research, a sensitive, efficient and reliable ultrahigh performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC–MS/MS) method for the determination of alpinetin in rat plasma was developed and validated. Plasma samples were processed with protein precipitation (PP) followed by a 5-fold acetonitrile/water (50:50, v/v) dilution to significantly decrease matrix effect which exited in one step PP method. Determination of alpinetin was conducted using positive electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry in multiple reaction monitoring mode. Results demonstrated that the method was precise (3.3%–12.3%), accurate (−5.8% to 10.8%) and linear in the range of 1–1000 ng/mL. The new developed method was subsequently applied to a pharmacokinetic research of alpinetin following oral and intravenous dosing to healthy Sprague-Dawley rats. Alpinetin was demonstrated rapid absorption after oral administration with an absolute bioavailability of ˜15.1% and extensive distribution after dosing.

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