Morroniside is one of the most important iridoid glycosides from Cornus officinalis Sieb. et Zucc. In the present study, the pharmacokinetics and bioavailability studies of morroniside were conducted on Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats. A rat in situ intestinal perfusion model was used to characterize the absorption of morroniside. Caco-2 cells were used to examine the transport mechanisms of morroniside. The pharmacokinetic study of morroniside exhibited linear dose-proportional pharmacokinetic characteristics and low bioavailability (4.3 %) in SD rats. Its average Peff value for transport across the small intestinal segments changed from (3.09 ± 2.03) × 10−6 to (4.53 ± 0.94) × 10−6 cm s−1. In Caco-2 cells, the Papp values ranged from (1.61 ± 0.53) × 10−9 to (1.19 ± 0.22) × 10−7 cm s−1 for the apical to basolateral side and the Pratio values at three concentrations were all lower than 1.2. Morroniside showed poor absorption and it might not be a specific substrate of P-glycoprotein (P-gp).
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