Rutaecarpine is an alkaloid isolated from the medicinal herb Evodia rutaecarpa. This study was to evaluate the elimination pathway of rutaecarpine in rat feces and urine. Rutaecarpine and its metabolites (3-, 10-, 11- and 12-hydroxyrutaecarpine) in urine were measured after incubation with beta-glucuronidase. After the rutaecarpine was administered (25 and 100 mg/kg) orally to rats, the urine and fecal samples were collected using a metabolic cage for five consecutive days. For determining rutaecarpine, the mobile phase consisted of acetontrile-10 mM NaH(2)PO(4) (60:40, v/v, pH 4.2 adjusted with orthophosphoric acid) with a flow rate of 1 mL/min. The calibration curve was linear in concentrations of 0.05-50 microg/mL in fecal and urine sample. The results indicated that more than 42% of the rutaecarpine was excreted by feces after oral administration (25 and 100 mg/kg), but only a small amount of rutaecarpine was detected in urine at a higher dose of rutaecarpine (100 mg/kg). After incubation with beta-glucuronidase, the hydroxyrutaecarpine in urine was eluted using methanol-acetonitrile-0.04% formic acid (6:30:64, v/v) with a flow rate of 1.2 mL/min. We conclude that the metabolic pathway of rutaecarpine went through phase I hydroxylation and phase II conjugation, and the major metabolite is 10-hydroxyrutaecarpine eliminated from urine of the rat.
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