The therapeutic properties of Epimedium koreanum
are presumed to be due to the flavonoid component icariin, which has been reported to have broad pharmacological potential and has demonstrated anti-diabetic, anti-Alzheimer’s disease, anti-tumor, and hepatoprotective activities. Considering these therapeutic properties of icariin, its deglycosylated icaritin and glycosylated flavonoids (icaeriside II, epimedin A, epimedin B, and epimedin C) were evaluated for their ability to inhibit protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B) and α-glucosidase. The results show that icaritin and icariside II exhibit potent inhibitory activities, with 50% inhibition concentration (IC50
) values of 11.59 ± 1.39 μM and 9.94 ± 0.15 μM against PTP1B and 74.42 ± 0.01 and 106.59 ± 0.44 μM against α-glucosidase, respectively. With the exceptions of icaritin and icariside II, glycosylated flavonoids did not exhibit any inhibitory effects in the two assays. Enzyme kinetics analyses revealed that icaritin and icariside II demonstrated noncompetitive-type inhibition against PTP1B, with inhibition constant (Ki
) values of 11.41 and 11.66 μM, respectively. Moreover, molecular docking analysis confirmed that icaritin and icariside II both occupy the same site as allosteric ligand. Thus, the molecular docking simulation results were in close agreement with the experimental data with respect to inhibition activity. In conclusion, deglycosylated metabolites of icariin from E. koreanum
might offer therapeutic potential for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
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