Eleven polyphenols, classified as flavonoid glycosides, flavonoid aglycones, and phenolic acids, are important bioactive components in the capitula of Coreopsis tinctoria (CCT). Nevertheless, their full pharmacokinetic profiles have not been demonstrated simultaneously. Therefore, a liquid chromatography – tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method was developed in the present work and used it to study the pharmacokinetics of these 11 compounds. We performed LC-MS/MS with a gradient mobile phase composed of water containing 0.1% formic acid and acetonitrile containing 0.1% formic acid on a Proshell 120 SB C18 column (2.1 mm × 100 mm, 2.7 μm). We achieved a good chromatographic peak shape, resolution, and mass signal response, and multiple reaction monitoring facilitated the simultaneous detection of 11 analytes. In addition, we validated the selectivity, correlation coefficient, precision, extraction recovery, matrix effects, and stability of the LC-MS/MS method to be acceptable for 11 analytes in rat plasma. Subsequently, rats were orally administered with 50% ethanol eluent of CCT (ECCT). Nine of 11 polyphenols were absorbed quickly (except for QCD and TCA), and their plasma levels peaked within 40 min. The exposure and Cmax values of flavonoid glycosides and phenolic acids were lower than those of flavonoid aglycones. This is the first report to demonstrate the pharmacokinetics of 11 polyphenols in ECCT, which may play an important role in future studies of the bioactive components of ECCT and their bioactive mechanisms.
Coreopsis tinctoria; LC-MS/MS; biological sample analysis; multi-component pharmacokinetics; polyphenols.