Journal of Natural Medicines

, Volume 71, Issue 1, pp 198–207 | Cite as

The effects of 18β-glycyrrhetinic acid and glycyrrhizin on intestinal absorption of paeoniflorin using the everted rat gut sac model

  • Rui He
  • Yongsong Xu
  • Jingjing Peng
  • Tingting Ma
  • Jing Li
  • Muxin Gong
Original Paper


Paeoniflorin (PF), the main active component of Shaoyao-Gancao-tang, possesses significantly antinociceptive effects and many other pharmacological activities. However, its poor intestinal absorption results in low bioavailability. Therefore, enhancing PF absorption plays a vital role in exerting its therapeutic effect. Shaoyao combined with Gancao exhibited a synergistic effect. The enhancement of PF absorption through the interaction of its constituents in intestinal absorption would be greatly implicated. The present study aimed at investigating the effects of glycyrrhizin, the main constituent of Gancao, and its main metabolite, 18β-glycyrrhetinic acid (18β-GA), on the intestinal absorptive behavior of PF, and the role of P-glycoprotein (P-gp) in PF absorption using the in vitro everted rat gut sac model. The results demonstrated that 1 mM of 18β-GA significantly increased PF absorption in both the jejunum and the ileum, while 100 μM of 18β-GA only promoted the ileum absorption and had no obvious effect on the jejunum absorption. The effect of glycyrrhizin on intestinal PF absorption was related to concentrations. One mM of glycyrrhizin significantly increased PF absorption in the jejunum after 45 min and in the ileum after 90 min. But 100 μM of glycyrrhizin had an inhibitory effect in the jejunum and no effect in the ileum before 60 min. Moreover, verapamil, the well-known P-gp inhibitor, could significantly enhance the PF absorption. In conclusion, the influence of 18β-GA and glycyrrhizin on the PF absorption was related to concentrations and intestinal segments. This might be involved in the intervention of efflux transport of PF mediated by intestinal P-gp.


Paeoniflorin 18β-Glycyrrhetinic acid Glycyrrhizin P-gp Intestinal absorption Everted rat gut sac model 



This work was supported by the Capital Special Research Fund for traditional Chinese medicine in 2015 of China (1150170206/15ZY19), the Beijing project for the key members of outstanding young scientists (2015000020124G104), and partly funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 81473360) and the special scientific research of traditional Chinese medicine industry in 2015 (201507002-03-01-04). We thank Siliang Fu (an English teacher at Capital Medical University) and Zhaoxia Li for the editorial assistance of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Society of Pharmacognosy and Springer Japan 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rui He
    • 1
  • Yongsong Xu
    • 1
  • Jingjing Peng
    • 1
  • Tingting Ma
    • 1
  • Jing Li
    • 1
  • Muxin Gong
    • 1
  1. 1.Beijing Key Lab of TCM Collateral Disease Theory Research, School of Traditional Chinese MedicineCapital Medical UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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