The nature of quercetin conjugates present in blood after consumption of quercetin glucosides is still unclear. In this study, we analyzed plasma of volunteers that had consumed 325 ?mol of either quercetin-3-glucoside or quercetin-4'-glucoside as an oral solution. Quercetin metabolites were extracted with acetonitrile/phosphoric acid and these extracts were analyzed using a high performance liquid chromatography with Coularray detection that distinguishes between the glucuronidated and the glucosylated forms of quercetin. No intact quercetin glucosides and only trace amounts of aglycone were found in human plasma, irrespective of the glucoside ingested. This was confirmed by spiking the plasma with glucoside standards. The major components in plasma had the same retention time as quercetin glucuronide standards. These plasma components disappeared after treatment of the plasma with bovine liver ß-glucuronidase, under reformation of quercetin, and showed the same oxidation pattern as the glucuronides. These results suggest that after consumption of quercetin glucosides, quercetin glucuronides are major metabolites in plasma.
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