Litchi Flavonoids: Isolation, Identification and Biological Activity
Received: 14 March 2007 / Revised: 26 March 2007 / Accepted: 28 March 2007 / Published: 11 April 2007
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The current status of the isolation, identification, biological activity, utilization and development prospects of flavonoids found in litchi fruit pericarp (LFP) tissues is reviewed. LFP tissues account for approximately 15% by weight of the whole fresh fruit and are comprised of significant
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The current status of the isolation, identification, biological activity, utilization and development prospects of flavonoids found in litchi fruit pericarp (LFP) tissues is reviewed. LFP tissues account for approximately 15% by weight of the whole fresh fruit and are comprised of significant amount of flavonoids. The major flavonoids in ripe LFP include flavonols and anthocyanins. The major flavanols in the LFP are reported to be procyanidin B4, procyanidin B2 and epicatechin, while cyanindin-3-rutinside, cyanidin-3-glucoside, quercetin-3-rutinosde and quercetin-3-glucoside are identified as the important anthocyanins. Litchi flavanols and anthocyanins exhibit good potential antioxidant activity. The hydroxyl radical and superoxide anion scavenging activities of procyanidin B2 are greater than those of procyanidin B4 and epicatechin, while epicatechin has the highest α,α-diphenyl-β-picrylhydrazyl radical (DPPH·) scavenging activity. In addition to the antioxidant activity, LFP extract displays a dose- and time-dependent inhibitory effect on human breast cancer, which could be attributed, in part, to its inhibition of proliferation and induction of apoptosis in cancer cells through upregulation and down-regulation of multiple genes. Furthermore, various anticancer activities are observed for epicatechin, procyanidin B2, procyanidin B4 and the ethyl acetate fraction of LFP tissue extracts. Procyanidin B4 and the ethyl acetate fraction show a stronger inhibitory effect on HELF than MCF-7 proliferation, while epicatechin and procyanidin B2 have lower cytotoxicities towards MCF-7 and HELF than paclitaxel. It is therefore suggested that flavonoids from LFP might be potentially useful components for functional foods and/or anti-breast cancer drugs.