Low bioavailability and high binding affinity to plasma proteins led to the difficulty for the quantitative detection of lithospermate B (LSB) in plasma. This study aimed to develop a protocol for detecting LSB in plasma. A method was employed to quantitatively detect LSB of 5–500 ng/mL by LC/MS spectrometry in multi reaction monitoring mode via monitoring two major fragments with m/z values of 519 and 321 in the MS2 spectrum. To set up an adequate extraction solution to release LSB captured by plasma proteins, recovery yields of LSB extracted from rat plasma acidified by formic acid or HCl in the presence or absence of EDTA and caffeic acid were detected and compared using the above quantitative method. High recovery yield (∼90%) was achieved when LSB (5–500 ng/mL) mixed in rat plasma was acidified by HCl (5 M) in the presence of EDTA (0.5 M) and caffeic acid (400 μg/mL). The lower limit of detection and the lower limit of quantification for LSB in the spiked plasma were calculated to be 1.8 and 5.4 ng/mL, respectively. Good accuracy (within ±10%) and precision (less than 10%) of intra- and inter-day quality controlled samples were observed. Oral bioavailability of LSB in rat model was detected via this optimized extraction method, and the maximum plasma concentration (C max ) was found to be 1034.3 ± 510.5 μg/L at t max around 10 min, and the area under the plasma concentration–time curve (AUC) was 1414.1 ± 851.2 μg·h/L. © 2017

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.