Panax notoginseng saponins (PNS) are the major components of Panax notoginseng, with multiple pharmacological activities but poor oral bioavailability. PNS could be metabolized by gut microbiota in vitro, while the exact role of gut microbiota of PNS metabolism in vivo remains poorly understood. In this study, pseudo germ-free rat models were constructed by using broad-spectrum antibiotics to validate the gut microbiota-mediated transformation of PNS in vivo. Moreover, a high performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-ESI-MS/MS) was developed for quantitative analysis of four metabolites of PNS, including ginsenoside F1 (GF1), ginsenoside Rh2 (GRh2), ginsenoside compound K (GCK) and proto-panaxatriol (PPT). The results showed that the four metabolites could be detected in the control rat plasma, while they could not be determined in pseudo germ-free rat plasma. The results implied that PNS could not be biotransformed effectively when gut microbiota was disrupted. In conclusion, gut microbiota plays an important role in biotransformation of PNS into metabolites in vivo.