Stereospecific pharmacokinetic characterization of liquiritigenin in the rat

Res Pharm Sci. 2017 Jun;12(3):176-186. doi: 10.4103/1735-5362.207197.


Liquiritigenin is a chiral flavonoid present in licorice and other medicinal plants. The nature of its biological fate with respect to the individual enantiomers has not been examined. In this study, we characterize, for the first time, the stereoselective pharmacokinetics of liquiritigenin. Liquiritigenin was intravenously (20 mg/kg) and orally (50 mg/kg) administered to male Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 4 per route of administration). Concentrations in serum and urine were characterized via stereospecific reversed-phase, isocratic HPLC method with UV detection. Serum concentrations were quantified but rapidly fell to undetectable levels. S-liquiritigenin showed a short half-life (0.25-0.54 h), while a better estimation of half-life (26-77 h) and other pharmacokinetic parameters was observed using urinary data. The flavonoid is predominantly excreted via non-renal routes (fe values of 0.16-3.46 %), and undergoes rapid and extensive phase II metabolism. Chiral differences in the chemical structure of the compound result in some pharmacokinetic differences. Serum concentrations rapidly declined, making modeling difficult. S-liquiritigenin showed an increased urinary half-life.

Keywords: Chiral; Flavonoid; Liquiritigenin; Pharmacokinetics; Stereospecific.