A simple, rapid and reliable high-performance liquid chromatographic (HPLC) method was developed and validated for the determination of curcumin in rat plasma. Plasma was precipitated with acetonitrile after addition of the internal standard (IS), 4-hydroxybenzophenone. Separation was achieved on a Waters muBondapak C(18) column (3.9 x 300 mm, 5 microm) using acetonitrile (55%) and citric buffer, pH 3.0 (45%) as the mobile phase (flow rate = 1.0 mL/min). The UV detection wavelength was 300 and 428 nm for IS and curcumin, respectively. The extraction efficiencies were 97.08, 95.69 and 94.90% for 50, 200 and 1000 ng/mL of curcumin in rat plasma, respectively. The calibration curve was linear over the range 0.02-1 microg/mL with a correlation coefficient of r(2) > 0.999. The intra- and inter-day coefficients of variation were less than 13%, and mean intra- and inter-day errors were less than +/-6% at 50, 200 and 1000 ng/mL of curcumin. This assay was successfully applied to the pharmacokinetic studies of both solubilized curcumin and its polymeric micellar formulation in rats. It was found that polymeric micelles increased the half-life of curcumin 162-fold that of solubilized curcumin and increased the volume of distribution (Vd(ss)) by 70-fold.
(c) 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.