In the present study, the effect of a borneol/menthol eutectic mixture (25:75) and microemulsion on the absorption of daidzein in rat intestinal membrane was evaluated. The microemulsion formulation was composed of ethyl oleate (oil), Cremophor RH40 (surfactant), PEG400 (co-surfactant), and water. The borneol/menthol eutectic mixture and its microemulsion were found to enhance the intestinal absorption of daidzein in vitro. A diffusion chamber system with isolated rat intestinal membranes was used. In contrast, verapamil (0.3 mM), a typical P-glycoprotein inhibitor, showed no effect on the absorption of daidzein by this system. A pharmacokinetic study was conducted in rats. After oral administration of daidzein at a dose of 10 mg/kg in the form of either borneol/menthol eutectic mixtures or suspension, the relative bioavailability of borneol/menthol eutectic mixtures and microemulsion was enhanced by about 1.5- and 3.65-fold, respectively, compared with a daidzein suspension. In conclusion, a borneol/menthol eutectic mixture can enhance the absorption of daidzein, although the mechanism of absorption enhancement is still unclear.
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