A Use of Tritium-Labeled Peat Fulvic Acids and Polyphenolic Derivatives for Designing Pharmacokinetic Experiments on Mice

Gennady A. Badun, Maria G. Chernysheva, Yury V. Zhernov, Alina S. Poroshina, Valery V. Smirnov, Sergey E. Pigarev, Tatiana A. Mikhnevich, Dmitry S. Volkov, Irina V. Perminova, Elena I. Fedoros

Biomedicines, 2021, 1787, doi: 10.3390/biomedicines9121787


Natural products (e.g., polyphenols) have been used as biologically active compounds for centuries. Still, the mechanisms of biological activity of these multicomponent systems are poorly understood due to a lack of appropriate experimental techniques. The method of tritium thermal bombardment allows for non-selective labeling and tracking of all components of complex natural systems. In this study, we applied it to label two well-characterized polyphenolic compounds, peat fulvic acid (FA-Vi18) and oxidized lignin derivative (BP-Cx-1), of predominantly hydrophilic and hydrophobic character, respectively. The identity of the labeled samples was confirmed using size exclusion chromatography. Using ultra-high resolution Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT ICR MS), key differences in the molecular composition of BP-Cx-1 and FA-Vi18 were revealed. The labeled samples ([3H]-FA-Vi18 (10 mg/kg) and [3H]-BP-Cx-1 (100 mg/kg)) were administered to female BALB/c mice intravenously (i.v.) and orally. The label distribution was assessed in blood, liver, kidneys, brain, spleen, thymus, ovaries, and heart using liquid scintillation counting. Tritium label was found in all organs studied at different concentrations. For the fulvic acid sample, the largest accumulation was observed in the kidney (Cmax 28.5 mg/kg and 5.6 mg/kg, respectively) for both routes. The organs of preferential accumulation of the lignin derivative were the liver (Cmax accounted for 396.7 and 16.13 mg/kg for i.v. and p.o. routes, respectively) and kidney (Cmax accounted for 343.3 and 17.73 mg/kg for i.v. and p.o. routes, respectively). Our results demonstrate that using the tritium labeling technique enabled successful pharmacokinetic studies on polyphenolic drugs with very different molecular compositions. It proved to be efficient for tissue distribution studies. It was also shown that the dosage of the polyphenolic drug might be lower than 10 mg/kg due to the sensitivity of the 3H detection technique.