In vivo comparison of the bioavailability of (+)-catechin, (-)-epicatechin and their mixture in orally administered rats

S. Baba, N. Osakabe, M. Natsume, Y. Muto, T. Takizawa, J. Terao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

190 Citations (Scopus)


We compared levels of (+)-catechin, (-)-epicatechin, and their metabolites in rat plasma and urine after oral administration. Rats were divided into four groups and given (+)-catechin (CA group), (-)-epicatechin (EC group), a mixture of the two (MIX group) or deionized water. Blood samples were collected before administration and at designated time intervals thereafter. Urine samples were collected 0-24 h postadministration. (+)-Catechin, (-)-epicatechin and their metabolites in plasma and urine were analyzed by HPLC-mass spectrometry after treatment with β-glucuronidase and/or sulfatase. After administration, absorbed (+)-catechin and (-)-epicatechin were mainly present in plasma as metabolites, such as nonmethylated or 3′-O-methylated conjugates. In the CA and MIX groups, the primary metabolite of (+)-catechin in plasma was glucuronide in the nonmethylated form. In the EC and MIX groups, in contrast, the primary metabolites of (-)-epicatechin in plasma were glucuronide and sulfoglucuronide in nonmethylated forms, and sulfate in the 3′-O-methylated forms. Urinary excretion of the total amount of (-)-epicatechin metabolites in the EC group was significantly higher than the amount of (+)-catechin metabolites in the CA group. The sum of (+)-catechin metabolites in the urine was significantly lower in the MIX group than in the CA group, and the sum of (-)-epicatechin metabolites in the MIX group was also significantly lower than in the EC group. These results suggest that the bioavailability of (-)-epicatechin is higher than that of (+)-catechin in rats, and that, in combination, (+)-catechin and (-)-epicatechin might be absorbed competitively in the gastrointestinal tract of rats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2885-2891
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • (+)-catechin
  • (-)-epicatechin
  • Absorption
  • Excretion
  • Rats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


Dive into the research topics of 'In vivo comparison of the bioavailability of (+)-catechin, (-)-epicatechin and their mixture in orally administered rats'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this