Proanthocyanidin rich plant extracts derived from grape seed extract (GSE), hawthorn and cranberry are on markets for their preventive effects against cardiovascular diseases and uroinfections in woman. However, the importance of these health beneficial effects of these botanicals remains elusive due to incomplete understanding of uptake, metabolism and bioavailability of proanthocyanidins in vivo. In the present study rats were given GSE orally (300 mg/kg, twice a day) and blood and urine were collected over a 24 h period. Monomeric catechins and their methylated metabolites, and proanthocyanidins up to trimers were detected in blood samples treated with GSE using LC-MS/MS operating in the multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) mode. A new tetramethylated metabolite of dimeric proanthocyanidin (m/z 633) in GSE-treated urine was tentatively identified. Using LC-MS/MS, (+)-catechin and (-)-epicatechin were identified in the brain conclusively. These data suggested that GSE catechins cross the blood brain barrier and may be responsible for the neuroprotective effects of GSE. © 2008 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.