Determination of mitragynine in plasma with solid-phase extraction and rapid HPLC–UV analysis, and its application to a pharmacokinetic study in rat


A new solid phase extraction method for rapid high performance liquid chromatography–UV determination of mitragynine in plasma has been developed. Optimal separation was achieved with an isocratic mobile phase consisting of acetonitrile–ammonium acetate buffer, 50 mM at pH 5.0 (50:50, v/v). The method had limits of detection and quantification of 0.025 and 0.050 μg/mL, respectively. The method was accurate and precise for the quantitative analysis of mitragynine in human and rat plasma with within-day and between-day accuracies between 84.0 and 109.6%, and their precision values were between 1.7 and 16.8%. Additional advantages over known methods are related to the solid phase extraction technique for sample preparation which yields a clean chromatogram, a short total analysis time, requires a smaller amount of plasma samples and has good assay sensitivity for bioanalytical application. The method was successfully applied in pharmacokinetic and stability studies of mitragynine. In the present study, mitragynine was found to be fairly stable during storage and sample preparation. The present study showed for the first time the detailed pharmacokinetic profiles of mitragynine. Following intravenous administration, mitragynine demonstrated a biphasic elimination from plasma. Oral absorption of the drug was slow, prolonged and was incomplete, with a calculated absolute oral bioavailability value of 3.03%. The variations observed in previous pharmacokinetic studies after oral administration of mitragynine could be attributed to its poor bioavailability rather than to the differences in assay method, metabolic saturation or mitragynine dose.

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The authors would like to express their thanks to Asokan Muniandy, Zulkeflee Ismail and Salam Abdullah for their technical support. This project was funded by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) and a Universiti Sains Malaysia Research University grant. S.P. was supported by the Universiti Sains Malaysia fellowship scheme from the Institute for Postgraduate Studies, Universiti Sains Malaysia.

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Correspondence to Vikneswaran Murugaiyah.

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Parthasarathy, S., Ramanathan, S., Ismail, S. et al. Determination of mitragynine in plasma with solid-phase extraction and rapid HPLC–UV analysis, and its application to a pharmacokinetic study in rat. Anal Bioanal Chem 397, 2023–2030 (2010).

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  • Mitragynine
  • High performance liquid chromatography–UV detection
  • Solid phase extraction
  • Stability
  • Pharmacokinetic