This study focused on exploring the nuclear factor-erythroid-2-related factor (Nrf2) active compound to avoid oxidative stress related to various diseases, such as obesity and diabetes mellitus. The activity of the Nrf2-ARE (antioxidant response element) signaling was evaluated by a reporter assay involving over five hundred various edible medicinal herbs, and the highest Nrf2 activity was found in the ethanol extract of Peucedanum japonicum
leaves. The active compound in the extract was isolated by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), and the chemical structure was identical to pteryxin based on 1
C-NMR spectra and liquid chromatography/time-of-fright mass spectrometer (LC/TOF/MS). From the pteryxin, the transcription factor Nrf2 was accumulated in the nucleus and resulted in the expression of the antioxidant protein, heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1). In addition, the Nrf2 activity involving HO-1 expression due to coumarin derivatives was evaluated together with pteryxin. This suggested that the electrophilicity, due to the α,β-carbonyl and/or substituted acyl groups in the molecule, modulates the cysteine residue in Keap1 via the Michel reaction, at which point the Nrf2 is dissociated from the Keap1. These results suggest that pteryxin will be a useful agent for developing functional foods.
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