The study of pharmacokinetics of Ginkgo biloba extracts in Traditional Chinese Medicine was relatively recent. In this study, a simple, quick and sensitive LC-MS/MS analytical method was developed for the determination of ginkgolides A, B, C and bilobalide in rat plasma. The analytes were completely separated from the endogenous compounds on an Agilent Zorbax Eclipse plus C18 column (50 mm × 3.0 mm, 1.8 µm) using an isocratic elution. The single-run analysis time was as short as 5.0 min. Sample preparation for protein removal was accomplished used a simple methanol precipitation method, after SPE showing a simultaneous extraction and cleanup of extracts allowing for a direct analysis. Extraction recoveries in rat plasma for ginkgolides A, B, C and bilobalide ranged from 75.6% to 89.0%. The calibration curves were determined over the ranges 0.5-20,000 ng/mL for ginkgolides A, B, C and bilobalide respectively. The lower limits of quantification (LLOQ) of the analytes were 0.5 ng/mL. Inter-day and intra-day precision and accuracy were below 15% and between 85 and 115%, respectively. Finally, the developed method was successfully applied to a pharmacokinetic study following oral administration of the Ginkgo biloba extracts to the male ICR rats.
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