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Special Issue "Plant Natural Products for Human Health"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Bioactives and Nutraceuticals".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 July 2018).

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Chun-Tao Che
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Prof. Dr. Hongjie Zhang
Website
Guest Editor
School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, China

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Submission of manuscripts is invited to the Special Issue of “Plant Natural Products for Human Health”, which will contain a selection of papers dealing with health-related bioactive substances from plant sources. Original research reports, review articles and commentaries are welcome.

Plant natural products have been used for a long time as medicines against a variety of diseases in the history of mankind, yet the mainstream pharmaceutical market has been dominated by synthetic drugs. However, we have witnessed the advent of global interest in complementary and alternative medicine as well as non-synthetic pharmaceutical products. Substances of plant natural origins have attracted the attention of the pharmaceutical community as a viable source to offer benefits for disease management and health maintenance. As a result, a large number of biologically active plant natural products (such as flavonoids, terpenoids, phenolics, and alkaloids) have been discovered, and many of them are going through different stages of development.

This special issue aims to cover all aspects of bioactive plant natural products including, but not limited to, chemical characterization, in vitro and in vivo activities, clinical effects, mechanism of action, structure-activity relationship, and pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic properties. Papers dealing with product development of natural nutraceuticals and dietary supplements are also welcome.

Prof. Dr. Chun-Tao Che
Prof. Dr. Hongjie Zhang
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Bioactive plant natural products
  • Biological and pharmacological activity
  • Plant natural drug discovery and development
  • Nutraceutical
  • Botanical dietary supplement

Published Papers (27 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Plant Natural Products for Human Health
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(4), 830; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20040830 - 15 Feb 2019
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 1601
Abstract
The aim of this Special Issue on “Plant Natural Products for Human Health” is to compile a series of scientific reports to demonstrate the medicinal potential of plant natural products, such as in vitro and in vivo activities, clinical effects, mechanisms of action, [...] Read more.
The aim of this Special Issue on “Plant Natural Products for Human Health” is to compile a series of scientific reports to demonstrate the medicinal potential of plant natural products, such as in vitro and in vivo activities, clinical effects, mechanisms of action, structure-activity relationships, and pharmacokinetic properties. With the global trend growing in popularity for botanical dietary supplements and phytopharmaceuticals, it is hoped that this Special Issue would serve as a timely reference for researchers and scholars who are interested in the discovery of potentially useful molecules from plant sources for health-related applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Natural Products for Human Health) Printed Edition available

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Fucoidan Alleviates Acetaminophen-Induced Hepatotoxicity via Oxidative Stress Inhibition and Nrf2 Translocation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(12), 4050; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19124050 - 14 Dec 2018
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 2186
Abstract
Acetaminophen (APAP) is a widely used analgesic and antipyretic drug that leads to severe hepatotoxicity at excessive doses. Fucoidan, a sulfated polysaccharide derived from brown seaweeds, possesses a wide range of pharmacological properties. However, the impacts of fucoidan on APAP-induced liver injury have [...] Read more.
Acetaminophen (APAP) is a widely used analgesic and antipyretic drug that leads to severe hepatotoxicity at excessive doses. Fucoidan, a sulfated polysaccharide derived from brown seaweeds, possesses a wide range of pharmacological properties. However, the impacts of fucoidan on APAP-induced liver injury have not been sufficiently addressed. In the present study, male Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) mice aged 6 weeks were subjected to a single APAP (500 mg/kg) intraperitoneal injection after 7 days of fucoidan (100 or 200 mg/kg/day) or bicyclol intragastric administration. The mice continued to be administered fucoidan or bicyclol once per day, and were sacrificed at an indicated time. The indexes evaluated included liver pathological changes, levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) in the serum, levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), malondialdehyde (MDA), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione (GSH) and catalase (CAT) in the liver, and related proteins levels (CYP2E1, pJNK and Bax). Furthermore, human hepatocyte HL-7702 cell line was used to elucidate the potential molecular mechanism of fucoidan. The mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) and nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor (Nrf2) translocation in HL-7702 cells were determined. The results showed that fucoidan pretreatment reduced the levels of ALT, AST, ROS, and MDA, while it enhanced the levels of GSH, SOD, and CAT activities. Additionally, oxidative stress-induced phosphorylated c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK) and decreased MMP were attenuated by fucoidan. Although the nuclear Nrf2 was induced after APAP incubation, fucoidan further enhanced Nrf2 in cell nuclei and total expression of Nrf2. These results indicated that fucoidan ameliorated APAP hepatotoxicity, and the mechanism might be related to Nrf2-mediated oxidative stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Natural Products for Human Health) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Defined Small Molecules Produced by Himalayan Medicinal Plants Display Immunomodulatory Properties
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(11), 3490; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19113490 - 06 Nov 2018
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1915
Abstract
Plant-derived compounds that modulate the immune responses are emerging as frontline treatment agents for cancer, infectious diseases and autoimmunity. Herein we have isolated 40 phytochemicals from five Bhutanese Sowa Rigpa medicinal plants—Aconitum laciniatum, Ajania nubegina, Corydalis crispa, Corydalis dubia [...] Read more.
Plant-derived compounds that modulate the immune responses are emerging as frontline treatment agents for cancer, infectious diseases and autoimmunity. Herein we have isolated 40 phytochemicals from five Bhutanese Sowa Rigpa medicinal plants—Aconitum laciniatum, Ajania nubegina, Corydalis crispa, Corydalis dubia and Pleurospermum amabile—and tested 14 purified compounds for their immunomodulatory properties using a murine dendritic cell (DC) line, and cytotoxicity against a human cholangiocyte cell line using xCELLigence real time cell monitoring. These compounds were: pseudaconitine, 14-veratryolpseudaconitine, 14-O-acetylneoline, linalool oxide acetate, (E)-spiroether, luteolin, luteolin-7-O-β-d-glucopyranoside, protopine, ochrobirine, scoulerine, capnoidine, isomyristicin, bergapten, and isoimperatorin. Of the 14 compounds tested here, scoulerine had adjuvant-like properties and strongly upregulated MHC-I gene and protein expression whereas bergapten displayed immunosuppressive properties and strongly down-regulated gene and protein expression of MHC-I and other co-stimulatory molecules. Both scoulerine and bergapten showed low cytotoxicity against normal healthy cells that were consistent with their immunoregulatory properties. These findings highlight the breadth of immunomodulatory properties of defined compounds from Bhutanese medicinal plants and show that some of these compounds exert their mechanisms of action by modulating DC activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Natural Products for Human Health) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Spatial Distribution of Glucan Type and Content between Caps and Stalks in Pleurotus eryngii: Impact on the Anti-inflammatory Functionality
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(11), 3371; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19113371 - 28 Oct 2018
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1058
Abstract
Pleurotus eryngii is recognized for its prominent nutritional and medicinal value. In our study, we tested the effect of glucans on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced production of TNF-α. We demonstrated that glucan extracts are more effective than mill mushroom preparations. Additionally, the effectiveness of stalk-derived [...] Read more.
Pleurotus eryngii is recognized for its prominent nutritional and medicinal value. In our study, we tested the effect of glucans on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced production of TNF-α. We demonstrated that glucan extracts are more effective than mill mushroom preparations. Additionally, the effectiveness of stalk-derived glucans were slightly more pronounced than of caps. Cap and stalk glucans from mill or isolated glucan competed dose-dependently with anti-Dectin-and anti-CR-3 antibodies, indicating that they contain β-glucans recognized by these receptors. Using the dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-inflammatory bowel disease mice model, intestinal inflammatory response to the mill preparations was measured and compared to extracted glucan fractions from caps and stalks. We found that mill and glucan extracts were very effective in downregulating IFN-γ and MIP-2 levels and that stalk-derived preparations were more effective than from caps. The tested glucans were equally effective in regulating the number of CD14/CD16 monocytes and upregulating the levels of fecal-released IgA to almost normal levels. In conclusion, the most effective glucans in ameliorating some IBD-inflammatory associated symptoms induced by DSS treatment in mice were glucan extracts prepared from the stalk of P. eryngii. These spatial distinctions may be helpful in selecting more effective specific anti-inflammatory mushrooms-derived glucans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Natural Products for Human Health) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Panax Notoginseng Saponins on Esterases Responsible for Aspirin Hydrolysis In Vitro
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(10), 3144; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19103144 - 12 Oct 2018
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1403
Abstract
Herb–drug interactions strongly challenge the clinical combined application of herbs and drugs. Herbal products consist of complex pharmacological-active ingredients and perturb the activity of drug-metabolizing enzymes. Panax notoginseng saponins (PNS)-based drugs are often combined with aspirin in vascular disease treatment in China. PNS [...] Read more.
Herb–drug interactions strongly challenge the clinical combined application of herbs and drugs. Herbal products consist of complex pharmacological-active ingredients and perturb the activity of drug-metabolizing enzymes. Panax notoginseng saponins (PNS)-based drugs are often combined with aspirin in vascular disease treatment in China. PNS was found to exhibit inhibitory effects on aspirin hydrolysis using Caco-2 cell monolayers. In the present study, a total of 22 components of PNS were separated and identified by UPLC-MS/MS. Using highly selective probe substrate analysis, PNS exerted robust inhibitory potency on human carboxylesterase 2 (hCE2), while had a minor influence on hCE1, butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) and paraoxonase (PON). These effects were also verified through molecular docking analysis. PNS showed a concentration-dependent inhibitory effect on hydrolytic activity of aspirin in HepaRG cells. The protein level of hCE2 in HepaRG cells was suppressed after PNS treatment, while the level of BChE or PON1 in the extracellular matrix were elevated after PNS treatment. Insignificant effect was observed on the mRNA expression of the esterases. These findings are important to understand the underlying efficacy and safety of co-administration of PNS and aspirin in clinical practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Natural Products for Human Health) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Dihydromyricetin Attenuates Myocardial Hypertrophy Induced by Transverse Aortic Constriction via Oxidative Stress Inhibition and SIRT3 Pathway Enhancement
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(9), 2592; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19092592 - 31 Aug 2018
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 1616
Abstract
Dihydromyricetin (DMY), one of the flavonoids in vine tea, exerts several pharmacological actions. However, it is not clear whether DMY has a protective effect on pressure overload-induced myocardial hypertrophy. In the present study, male C57BL/6 mice aging 8–10 weeks were subjected to transverse [...] Read more.
Dihydromyricetin (DMY), one of the flavonoids in vine tea, exerts several pharmacological actions. However, it is not clear whether DMY has a protective effect on pressure overload-induced myocardial hypertrophy. In the present study, male C57BL/6 mice aging 8–10 weeks were subjected to transverse aortic constriction (TAC) surgery after 2 weeks of DMY (250 mg/kg/day) intragastric administration. DMY was given for another 2 weeks after surgery. Blood pressure, myocardial structure, cardiomyocyte cross-sectional area, cardiac function, and cardiac index were observed. The level of oxidative stress in the myocardium was assessed with dihydroethidium staining. Our results showed that DMY had no significant effect on the blood pressure. DMY decreased inter ventricular septum and left ventricular posterior wall thickness, relative wall thickness, cardiomyocyte cross-sectional areas, as well as cardiac index after TAC. DMY pretreatment also significantly reduced arterial natriuretic peptide (ANP), brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) mRNA and protein expressions, decreased reactive oxygen species production and malondialdehyde (MDA) level, while increased total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC), activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), expression of sirtuin 3 (SIRT3), forkhead-box-protein 3a (FOXO3a) and SOD2, and SIRT3 activity in the myocardium of mice after TAC. Taken together, DMY ameliorated TAC induced myocardial hypertrophy in mice related to oxidative stress inhibition and SIRT3 pathway enhancement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Natural Products for Human Health) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Flavonones from Penthorum chinense Ameliorate Hepatic Steatosis by Activating the SIRT1/AMPK Pathway in HepG2 Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(9), 2555; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19092555 - 28 Aug 2018
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1974
Abstract
Pinocembrin-7-O-β-d-glucoside (PCBG), pinocembrin (PCB), and 5-methoxy-pinocembrin-7-O-β-d-glucoside (MPG) are three flavonones isolated from Penthorum chinense Pursh (P. chinense). The effects of the three flavonones on hepatic steatosis and their molecular mechanisms in HepG2 cells were [...] Read more.
Pinocembrin-7-O-β-d-glucoside (PCBG), pinocembrin (PCB), and 5-methoxy-pinocembrin-7-O-β-d-glucoside (MPG) are three flavonones isolated from Penthorum chinense Pursh (P. chinense). The effects of the three flavonones on hepatic steatosis and their molecular mechanisms in HepG2 cells were investigated in this study for the first time. A model of hepatic steatosis in HepG2 cells was induced by free fatty acid (FFA), and co-treated with the three flavonones as mentioned. Intracellular lipid droplets were detected by Oil Red O staining. PCB, PCBG, and MPG suppressed oxidative stress by decreasing malondialdehyde (MDA) levels and increasing superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activities. The levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) were ameliorated. Moreover, these flavonones enhanced the phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and the expression of silent mating type information regulation 2 homolog 1 (SIRT1) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα), and reduced the expression of sterol regulatory element binding protein-1c (SREBP1c) and the downstream targets fatty acid synthase (FAS), acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC), and stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1). Molecular docking was used to predict the interaction and combination patterns between the three flavonones and the enzymes above. The results revealed that the SIRT1/AMPK pathway is involved in the functions of the three flavonones, and the most effective flavonone against hepatic steatosis might be PCBG, followed by MPG and PCB. Therefore, the three flavonones from P. chinense were found to exert preventive effects against hepatic steatosis by regulating the SIRT1/AMPK pathway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Natural Products for Human Health) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Prenylated Flavonoids from Roots of Glycyrrhiza uralensis Induce Differentiation of B16-F10 Melanoma Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(8), 2422; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19082422 - 16 Aug 2018
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1478
Abstract
Roots of Glycyrrhiza uralensis have been used as herbal medicine and natural sweetener. By activity-guided phytochemical investigation of the extracts from G. uralensis root, ten flavonoids, namely GF-1–GF-10, of which five were prenylated flavonoids, were found to show antiproliferative effects in melanoma B16-F10 [...] Read more.
Roots of Glycyrrhiza uralensis have been used as herbal medicine and natural sweetener. By activity-guided phytochemical investigation of the extracts from G. uralensis root, ten flavonoids, namely GF-1–GF-10, of which five were prenylated flavonoids, were found to show antiproliferative effects in melanoma B16-F10 cells. Three of the prenylated flavonoids, namely GF-1, GF-4 and GF-9, significantly induced the differentiation of B16-F10 cells; the inductions included increase of tyrosinase activity, tyrosinase protein, and melanin content. In GF-1 and GF-9 induced melanoma differentiation, the phosphorylation of p38 MAPK (mitogen activated potein kinase) was identified; while GF-4 could trigger the phosphorylation of PI3K/AKT (phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Protein Kinase B) signaling. However, application of GF-6 to the melanoma cells did not induce differentiation; but which promoted cell apoptotic signaling, i.e., increase levels of cleaved-PRAP, cleaved-caspase 3, and cleaved-caspase 9. These results suggested that different types of prenylated flavonoids from G. uralensis might have potential anticancer effects against melanoma cells by acting through different signaling pathways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Natural Products for Human Health) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Novel Therapeutic Agent against Platelet Activation In Vitro and Arterial Thrombosis In Vivo by Morin Hydrate
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(8), 2386; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19082386 - 13 Aug 2018
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1712
Abstract
Morin hydrate, a bioactive flavonoid, has been proven to prevent inflammation and apoptosis of cells. Flavonoids can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, in which platelet activation plays a major role. This study investigated the effect of morin hydrate on platelet activation in [...] Read more.
Morin hydrate, a bioactive flavonoid, has been proven to prevent inflammation and apoptosis of cells. Flavonoids can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, in which platelet activation plays a major role. This study investigated the effect of morin hydrate on platelet activation in vitro and in vivo. Morin hydrate markedly inhibited platelet aggregation stimulated by collagen in human platelets but not that stimulated by other agonists. In collagen-activated platelets, morin hydrate inhibited adenosine triphosphate (ATP) release; intracellular Ca2+ mobilization; P-selectin expression; and phosphorylation of phospholipase Cγ2 (PLCγ2), protein kinase C (PKC), and Akt. In mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation, morin hydrate evidently diminished ERK2 or JNK1 activation, except for p38 MAPK. Additionally, morin hydrate markedly reduced the OH· signals in platelet suspensions but not in the cell-free system (Fenton reaction solution). Moreover, morin hydrate substantially increased the occlusion time of thrombotic platelet plug formation but had no effect on bleeding time in mice. In conclusion, morin hydrate crucially inhibits platelet activation through inhibition of the PLCγ2–PKC cascade and subsequent suppression of Akt and MAPK activation, thereby ultimately inhibiting platelet aggregation. Therefore, this paper suggests that morin hydrate constitutes a novel and potential natural therapeutic product for preventing or treating thromboembolic disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Natural Products for Human Health) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Synthesis and Spectrum of Biological Activities of Novel N-arylcinnamamides
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(8), 2318; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19082318 - 07 Aug 2018
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1866
Abstract
A series of sixteen ring-substituted N-arylcinnamamides was prepared and characterized. Primary in vitro screening of all the synthesized compounds was performed against Staphylococcus aureus, three methicillin-resistant S. aureus strains, Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Ra, Fusarium avenaceum, and Bipolaris sorokiniana. Several of [...] Read more.
A series of sixteen ring-substituted N-arylcinnamamides was prepared and characterized. Primary in vitro screening of all the synthesized compounds was performed against Staphylococcus aureus, three methicillin-resistant S. aureus strains, Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Ra, Fusarium avenaceum, and Bipolaris sorokiniana. Several of the tested compounds showed antistaphylococcal, antitubercular, and antifungal activities comparable with or higher than those of ampicillin, isoniazid, and benomyl. (2E)-N-[3,5-bis(trifluoromethyl)phenyl]-3-phenylprop-2-enamide and (2E)-3-phenyl-N-[3-(trifluoromethyl)phenyl]prop-2-enamide showed the highest activities (MICs = 22.27 and 27.47 µM, respectively) against all four staphylococcal strains and against M. tuberculosis. These compounds showed an activity against biofilm formation of S. aureus ATCC 29213 in concentrations close to MICs and an ability to increase the activity of clinically used antibiotics with different mechanisms of action (vancomycin, ciprofloxacin, and tetracycline). In time-kill studies, a decrease of CFU/mL of >99% after 8 h from the beginning of incubation was observed. (2E)-N-(3,5-Dichlorophenyl)- and (2E)-N-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-3-phenylprop-2-enamide had a MIC = 27.38 µM against M. tuberculosis, while a significant decrease (22.65%) of mycobacterial cell metabolism determined by the MTT assay was observed for the 3,5-dichlorophenyl derivative. (2E)-N-(3-Fluorophenyl)- and (2E)-N-(3-methylphenyl)-3-phenylprop-2-enamide exhibited MICs = 16.58 and 33.71 µM, respectively, against B. sorokiniana. The screening of the cytotoxicity of the most effective antimicrobial compounds was performed using THP-1 cells, and these chosen compounds did not shown any significant lethal effect. The compounds were also evaluated for their activity related to the inhibition of photosynthetic electron transport (PET) in spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) chloroplasts. (2E)-N-(3,5-dichlorophenyl)-3-phenylprop-2-enamide (IC50 = 5.1 µM) was the most active PET inhibitor. Compounds with fungicide potency did not show any in vivo toxicity against Nicotiana tabacum var. Samsun. The structure–activity relationships are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Natural Products for Human Health) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Polyphenols Derived from Lychee Seed Suppress Aβ (1-42)-Induced Neuroinflammation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(7), 2109; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19072109 - 20 Jul 2018
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 1700
Abstract
Amyloid-β (Aβ) is commonly recognized as the most important factor that results in neuronal cell death and accelerates the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Increasing evidence suggests that microglia activated by Aβ release an amount of neurotoxic inflammatory cytokines that contribute to neuron [...] Read more.
Amyloid-β (Aβ) is commonly recognized as the most important factor that results in neuronal cell death and accelerates the progression of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Increasing evidence suggests that microglia activated by Aβ release an amount of neurotoxic inflammatory cytokines that contribute to neuron death and aggravate AD pathology. In our previous studies, we found that lychee seed fraction (LSF), an active fraction derived from the lychee seed, could significantly improve the cognitive function of AD rats and inhibit Aβ-induced neuroinflammation in vitro, and decrease neuronal injuries in vivo and in vitro. In the current study, we aimed to isolate and identify the specific components in LSF that were responsible for the anti-neuroinflammation effect using preparative high performance liquid chromatography (pre-HPLC), liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) methods. To this end, we confirmed two polyphenols including catechin and procyanidin A2 that could improve the morphological status of BV-2 cells and suppress the release, mRNA levels, and protein expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), and interleukin-6 (IL-6) through downregulating the nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) signaling pathway using ELISA, RT-PCR, and Western blotting methods. Furthermore, catechin and procyanidin A2 could inhibit Aβ-induced apoptosis in BV-2 cells by upregulating Bcl-2 and downregulating Bax protein expression. Therefore, the current study illustrated the active substances in lychee seed, and first reported that catechin and procyanidin A2 could suppress neuroinflammation in Aβ-induced BV-2 cells, which provides detailed insights into the molecular mechanism of catechin and procyanidin A2 in the neuroprotective effect, and their further validations of anti-neuroinflammation in vivo is also essential in future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Natural Products for Human Health) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Pharmacokinetic Comparisons of Multiple Triterpenic Acids from Jujubae Fructus Extract Following Oral Delivery in Normal and Acute Liver Injury Rats
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(7), 2047; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19072047 - 13 Jul 2018
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1388
Abstract
Jujubae Fructus, the dried fruit of Ziziphus jujuba, has been used as Chinese medicine and food for centuries. Triterpenic acids have been found to be the major bioactive constituents in Jujubae Fructus responsible for their hepatoprotective activity in previous phytochemical and [...] Read more.
Jujubae Fructus, the dried fruit of Ziziphus jujuba, has been used as Chinese medicine and food for centuries. Triterpenic acids have been found to be the major bioactive constituents in Jujubae Fructus responsible for their hepatoprotective activity in previous phytochemical and biological studies, while few pharmacokinetic studies have been conducted. To reveal the kinetics of the triterpenic acids under the pathological liver injury state, an established ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled with a mass spectrometry method was applied for the simultaneous quantitation of seven triterpenic acids (ceanothic acid, epiceanothic acid, pomonic acid, alphitolic acid, maslinic acid, betulinic acid, and betulonic acid) in plasma samples of normal and acute liver injury rats induced by CCl4. The results showed that there were significant differences (p < 0.05) in the pharmacokinetic parameters of seven triterpenic acids between model and normal groups. The AUC0–t and AUC0–∞ of epiceanothic acid (5227 ± 334 μg⋅h/L vs. 1478 ± 255 μg⋅h/L and 6127 ± 423 μg⋅h/L vs. 1482 ± 255 μg⋅h/L, respectively) and pomonic acid (4654 ± 349 μg⋅h/L vs. 1834 ± 225 μg⋅h/L and 4776 ± 322 μg⋅h/L vs. 1859 ± 230 μg⋅h/L, respectively) in model rats were significantly higher than those in normal rats, and the CLz/F of them were significantly decreased (0.28 ± 0.02 L/h/kg vs. 1.36 ± 0.18 L/h/kg and 19.96 ± 1.30 L/h/kg vs. 53.15 ± 5.60 L/h/kg, respectively). In contrast, the above parameters for alphitolic acid, betulinic acid and betulonic acid exhibited the quite different trend. This pharmacokinetic research might provide useful information for the clinical usage of triterpenic acids from Jujubae Fructus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Natural Products for Human Health) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Asperuloside and Asperulosidic Acid Exert an Anti-Inflammatory Effect via Suppression of the NF-κB and MAPK Signaling Pathways in LPS-Induced RAW 264.7 Macrophages
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(7), 2027; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19072027 - 12 Jul 2018
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 1846
Abstract
Hedyotis diffusa is a folk herb that is used for treating inflammation-related diseases in Asia. Previous studies have found that iridoids in H. diffusa play an important role in its anti-inflammatory activity. This study aimed to investigate the anti-inflammatory effect and potential mechanism [...] Read more.
Hedyotis diffusa is a folk herb that is used for treating inflammation-related diseases in Asia. Previous studies have found that iridoids in H. diffusa play an important role in its anti-inflammatory activity. This study aimed to investigate the anti-inflammatory effect and potential mechanism of five iridoids (asperuloside (ASP), asperulosidic acid (ASPA), desacetyl asperulosidic acid (DAA), scandoside methyl ester (SME), and E-6-O-p-coumaroyl scandoside methyl ester (CSME)) that are presented in H. diffusa using lipopolysaccharide (LPS)—induced RAW 264.7 cells. ASP and ASPA significantly decreased the production of nitric oxide (NO), prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and interleukin-6 (IL-6) in parallel with the inhibition of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), TNF-α, and IL-6 mRNA expression in LPS-induced RAW 264.7 cells. ASP treatment suppressed the phosphorylation of the inhibitors of nuclear factor-kappaB alpha (IκB-α), p38, extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK). The inhibitory effect of ASPA was similar to that of ASP, except for p38 phosphorylation. In summary, the anti-inflammatory effects of ASP and ASPA are related to the inhibition of inflammatory cytokines and mediators via suppression of the NF-κB and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathways, which provides scientific evidence for the potential application of H. diffusa. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
In Vitro Model of Neuroinflammation: Efficacy of Cannabigerol, a Non-Psychoactive Cannabinoid
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(7), 1992; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19071992 - 08 Jul 2018
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 3616
Abstract
Inflammation and oxidative stress play main roles in neurodegeneration. Interestingly, different natural compounds may be able to exert neuroprotective actions against inflammation and oxidative stress, protecting from neuronal cell loss. Among these natural sources, Cannabis sativa represents a reservoir of compounds exerting beneficial [...] Read more.
Inflammation and oxidative stress play main roles in neurodegeneration. Interestingly, different natural compounds may be able to exert neuroprotective actions against inflammation and oxidative stress, protecting from neuronal cell loss. Among these natural sources, Cannabis sativa represents a reservoir of compounds exerting beneficial properties, including cannabigerol (CBG), whose antioxidant properties have already been demonstrated in macrophages. Here, we aimed to evaluate the ability of CBG to protect NSC-34 motor neurons against the toxicity induced from the medium of LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages. Using MTT assay, we observed that CBG pre-treatment was able to reduce the loss of cell viability induced by the medium of LPS-stimulated macrophages in NSC-34 cells. Indeed, CBG pre-treatment inhibited apoptosis, as shown by the reduction of caspase 3 activation and Bax expression, while Bcl-2 levels increased. Furthermore, CBG pre-treatment counteracted not only inflammation, as demonstrated by the reduction of IL-1β, TNF-α, IFN-γ and PPARγ protein levels assessed by immunocytochemistry, but also oxidative stress in NSC-34 cells treated with the medium of LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7. Indeed, immunocytochemistry showed that CBG pre-treatment reduced nitrotyrosine, SOD1 and iNOS protein levels and restored Nrf-2 levels. All together, these results indicated the neuroprotective effects of CBG, that may be a potential treatment against neuroinflammation and oxidative stress. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Extracts and Major Compounds Derived from Astragali Radix Alter Mitochondrial Bioenergetics in Cultured Cardiomyocytes: Comparison of Various Polar Solvents and Compounds
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(6), 1574; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19061574 - 25 May 2018
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1773
Abstract
Astragali Radix (AR) is a widely used “Qi-invigorating” herb in China for its tonic effects in strengthening biological tissues. The extract of AR contains abundant antioxidants, including astragalosides and isoflavonoids. However, very few reports have systematically measured the effects of the major components [...] Read more.
Astragali Radix (AR) is a widely used “Qi-invigorating” herb in China for its tonic effects in strengthening biological tissues. The extract of AR contains abundant antioxidants, including astragalosides and isoflavonoids. However, very few reports have systematically measured the effects of the major components of AR on cell mitochondrial bioenergetics. Here, a systemic approach employing an extracellular flux analyzer was developed to evaluate mitochondrial respiration in cultured cardiomyocyte cells H9C2. The effects of different polar extractives, as well as of the major compounds of AR, were compared. The contents of astragaloside IV, calycosin, formononetin, and genistein in the AR extracts obtained by using water, 50% ethanol, and 90% ethanol were measured by liquid chromatograph-mass spectrometer (LC–MS). The antioxidant activities of the AR extracts, as well as of their major compounds, were determined by measuring the free radical scavenging activity and protective effects in tert-butyl hydroperoxide (tBHP)-treated H9C2 cells. By monitoring the real-time oxygen consumption rate (OCR) in tBHP-treated cardiomyocytes with a Seahorse extracellular flux analyzer, the tonic effects of the AR extracts and of their main compounds on mitochondrial bioenergetics were evaluated. AR water extracts possessed the strongest antioxidant activity and protective effects in cardiomyocytes exposed to oxidative stress. The protection was proposed to be mediated via increasing the spare respiratory capacity and mitochondrial ATP production in the stressed cells. The major compounds of AR, astragaloside IV and genistein, showed opposite effects in regulating mitochondrial bioenergetics. These results demonstrate that highly polar extracts of AR, especially astragaloside-enriched extracts, possess better tonic effects on mitochondrial bioenergetics of cultured cardiomyocytes than extracts with a lower polarity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Neuroprotective Effects of Four Phenylethanoid Glycosides on H2O2-Induced Apoptosis on PC12 Cells via the Nrf2/ARE Pathway
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(4), 1135; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19041135 - 10 Apr 2018
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 1993
Abstract
Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is a key transcription factor against oxidative stress and neurodegenerative disorders. Phenylethanoid glycosides (PhGs; salidroside, acteoside, isoacteoside, and echinacoside) exhibit antioxidant and neuroprotective bioactivities. This study was performed to investigate the neuroprotective effect and molecular mechanism [...] Read more.
Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is a key transcription factor against oxidative stress and neurodegenerative disorders. Phenylethanoid glycosides (PhGs; salidroside, acteoside, isoacteoside, and echinacoside) exhibit antioxidant and neuroprotective bioactivities. This study was performed to investigate the neuroprotective effect and molecular mechanism of PhGs. PhGs pretreatment significantly suppressed H2O2-induced cytotoxicity in PC12 cells by triggering the nuclear translocation of Nrf2 and reversing the downregulated protein expression of heme oxygenase 1 (HO-1), NAD(P)H quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1), glutamate cysteine ligase-catalytic subunit (GCLC), and glutamate-cysteine ligase modifier subunit (GCLM). Nrf2 siRNA or HO-1 inhibitor zinc protoporphyrin (ZnPP) reduced the neuroprotective effect. PhGs showed potential interaction with the Nrf2 binding site in Kelch-like ECH-association protein 1 (Keap1). This result may support the hypothesis that PhGs are activators of Nrf2. We demonstrated the potential binding between PhGs and the Keap1-activated Nrf2/ARE pathway, and that PhGs with more glycosides had enhanced effects. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Aged (Black) versus Raw Garlic against Ischemia/Reperfusion-Induced Cardiac Complications
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(4), 1017; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19041017 - 28 Mar 2018
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2002
Abstract
Recent evidence from studies suggests that aged black garlic also has an effect on health. The major aim of the present study is to compare the effect of raw and aged black garlic on postischemic cardiac recovery. Male Sprague Dawley rats were randomly [...] Read more.
Recent evidence from studies suggests that aged black garlic also has an effect on health. The major aim of the present study is to compare the effect of raw and aged black garlic on postischemic cardiac recovery. Male Sprague Dawley rats were randomly divided into three groups. Animals of the first group were fed with raw garlic, animals of the second group received aged black garlic, while the third group served as vehicle-treated controls. Upon conclusion of the treatment, isolated hearts were undertaken to ischemia/reperfusion. Heart function and infarct size were measured and the level of HO-1 and iNOS were studied. Superior postischemic cardiac function and reduced infarct size in both garlic treated groups compared to the drug-free control group, indicated cardioprotective effects. However, no significant differences between the garlic treated groups were observed. Western blot analysis revealed that raw garlic enhanced the level of HO-1 before ischemia, while in ischemic samples, we found elevated HO-1 expression in both garlic treated groups. The level of iNOS was the same before ischemia in all groups, however, a markedly reduced iNOS level in ischemic/reperfused hearts originating from control and raw garlic treated animals was observed. Samples from aged black garlic treated animals demonstrated that the level of iNOS was not significantly reduced after ischemia/reperfusion. Taken together these results indicate that not only raw but also aged black garlic possess a cardioprotective effect. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Protective Effects of Gomisin N against Hepatic Cannabinoid Type 1 Receptor-Induced Insulin Resistance and Gluconeogenesis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(4), 968; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19040968 - 23 Mar 2018
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1692
Abstract
Activation of the hepatic cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1R) induces insulin resistance and gluconeogenesis via endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, thereby contributing to hyperglycemia. Gomisin N (GN) is a phytochemical derived from Schisandra chinensis. In the current study, we investigated the inhibitory effects [...] Read more.
Activation of the hepatic cannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1R) induces insulin resistance and gluconeogenesis via endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, thereby contributing to hyperglycemia. Gomisin N (GN) is a phytochemical derived from Schisandra chinensis. In the current study, we investigated the inhibitory effects of GN on hepatic CB1R-mediated insulin resistance and gluconeogenesis in 2-arachidonoylglycerol (AG; an agonist of CB1R)-treated HepG2 cells and in high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obese mice. Treatment with 2-AG induced the expression of ER stress markers, serine/threonine phosphatase PHLPP1, Lipin1, and ceramide synthesis genes, but reduced the expression of ceramide degradation genes in HepG2 cells. However, GN reversed 2-AG-mediated effects and improved the 2-AG-mediated impairment of insulin signaling. Furthermore, GN inhibited 2-AG-induced intracellular triglyceride accumulation and glucose production in HepG2 cells by downregulation of lipogenesis and gluconeogenesis genes, respectively. In vivo, GN administration to HFD obese mice reduced the HFD-induced increase in fasting blood glucose and insulin levels, which was accompanied with downregulation of HFD-induced expression of CB1R, ER stress markers, ceramide synthesis gene, and gluconeogenesis genes in the livers of HFD obese mice. These findings demonstrate that GN protects against hepatic CB1-mediated impairment of insulin signaling and gluconeogenesis, thereby contributing to the amelioration of hyperglycemia. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Hinokitiol Inhibits Migration of A549 Lung Cancer Cells via Suppression of MMPs and Induction of Antioxidant Enzymes and Apoptosis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(4), 939; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19040939 - 22 Mar 2018
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2038
Abstract
Hinokitiol, a natural monoterpenoid from the heartwood of Calocedrus formosana, has been reported to have anticancer effects against various cancer cell lines. However, the detailed molecular mechanisms and the inhibiting roles of hinokitiol on adenocarcinoma A549 cells remain to be fully elucidated. [...] Read more.
Hinokitiol, a natural monoterpenoid from the heartwood of Calocedrus formosana, has been reported to have anticancer effects against various cancer cell lines. However, the detailed molecular mechanisms and the inhibiting roles of hinokitiol on adenocarcinoma A549 cells remain to be fully elucidated. Thus, the current study was designed to evaluate the effect of hinokitiol on the migration of human lung adenocarcinoma A549 cells in vitro. The data demonstrates that hinokitiol does not effectively inhibit the viability of A549 cells at up to a 10 µM concentration. When treated with non-toxic doses (1–5 µM) of hinokitiol, the cell migration is markedly suppressed at 5 µM. Hinokitiol significantly reduced p53 expression, followed by attenuation of Bax in A549 cells. A dose-dependent inhibition of activated caspase-9 and -3 was observed in the presence of hinokitiol. An observed increase in protein expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) -2/-9 in A549 cells was significantly inhibited by hinokitiol. Remarkably, when A549 cells were subjected to hinokitiol (1–5 µM), there was an increase in the activities of antioxidant enzymes catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) from the reduction in cells. In addition, the incubation of A549 cells with hinokitiol significantly activated the cytochrome c expression, which may be triggered by activation of caspase-9 followed by caspase-3. These observations indicate that hinokitiol inhibited the migration of lung cancer A549 cells through several mechanisms, including the activation of caspases-9 and -3, induction of p53/Bax and antioxidant CAT and SOD, and reduction of MMP-2 and -9 activities. It also induces cytochrome c expression. These findings demonstrate a new therapeutic potential for hinokitiol in lung cancer chemoprevention. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Calorie Restriction Effect of Heat-Processed Onion Extract (ONI) Using In Vitro and In Vivo Animal Models
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(3), 874; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19030874 - 15 Mar 2018
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1613
Abstract
Onion (Allium cepa L.) is widely consumed as food or medicinal plant due to its well-defined health benefits. The antioxidant and antihyperlipidemic effects of onion and its extracts have been reported well. However, very limited information on anti-hyperglycemic effect is available in [...] Read more.
Onion (Allium cepa L.) is widely consumed as food or medicinal plant due to its well-defined health benefits. The antioxidant and antihyperlipidemic effects of onion and its extracts have been reported well. However, very limited information on anti-hyperglycemic effect is available in processed onion extracts. In our previous study, we reported that Amadori rearrangement compounds (ARCs) produced by heat-processing in Korean ginseng can reduce carbohydrate absorption by inhibiting intestinal carbohydrate hydrolyzing enzymes in both in vitro and in vivo animal models. To prove the enhancement of anti-hyperglycemic effect and ARCs content by heat-processing in onion extract, a correlation between the anti-hyperglycemic activity and the total content of ARCs of heat-processed onion extract (ONI) was investigated. ONI has a high content of ARCs and had high rat small intestinal sucrase inhibitory activity (0.34 ± 0.03 mg/mL, IC50) relevant for the potential management of postprandial hyperglycemia. The effect of ONI on the postprandial blood glucose increase was investigated in Sprague Dawley (SD) rats fed on sucrose or starch meals. The maximum blood glucose levels (Cmax) of heat-processed onion extract were significantly decreased by about 8.7% (from 188.60 ± 5.37 to 172.27 ± 3.96, p < 0.001) and 14.2% (from 204.04 ± 8.73 to 175.13 ± 14.09, p < 0.01) in sucrose and starch loading tests, respectively. These results indicate that ARCs in onion extract produced by heat-processing have anti-diabetic effect by suppressing carbohydrate absorption via inhibition of intestinal sucrase, thereby reducing the postprandial increase of blood glucose. Therefore, enhancement of ARCs in onion by heat-processing might be a good strategy for the development of the new product on the management of hyperglycemia. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Therapeutic Potential of Plants and Plant Derived Phytochemicals against Acetaminophen-Induced Liver Injury
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(12), 3776; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19123776 - 28 Nov 2018
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2545
Abstract
Acetaminophen (APAP), which is also known as paracetamol or N-acetyl-p-aminophenol is a safe and potent drug for fever, pain and inflammation when used at its normal therapeutic doses. It is available as over-the-counter drug and used by all the age [...] Read more.
Acetaminophen (APAP), which is also known as paracetamol or N-acetyl-p-aminophenol is a safe and potent drug for fever, pain and inflammation when used at its normal therapeutic doses. It is available as over-the-counter drug and used by all the age groups. The overdose results in acute liver failure that often requires liver transplantation. Current clinical therapy for APAP-induced liver toxicity is the administration of N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), a sulphydryl compound an approved drug which acts by replenishing cellular glutathione (GSH) stores in the liver. Over the past five decades, several studies indicate that the safety and efficacy of herbal extracts or plant derived compounds that are used either as monotherapy or as an adjunct therapy along with conventional medicines for hepatotoxicity have shown favorable responses. Phytochemicals mitigate necrotic cell death and protect against APAP-induced liver toxicityby restoring cellular antioxidant defense system, limiting oxidative stress and subsequently protecting mitochondrial dysfunction and inflammation. Recent experimental evidences indicat that these phytochemicals also regulate differential gene expression to modulate various cellular pathways that are implicated in cellular protection. Therefore, in this review, we highlight the role of the phytochemicals, which are shown to be efficacious in clinically relevant APAP-induced hepatotoxicity experimental models. In this review, we have made comprehensive attempt to delineate the molecular mechanism and the cellular targets that are modulated by the phytochemicals to mediate the cytoprotective effect against APAP-induced hepatotoxicity. In this review, we have also defined the challenges and scope of phytochemicals to be developed as drugs to target APAP-induced hepatotoxicity. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Hair-Growth Potential of Ginseng and Its Major Metabolites: A Review on Its Molecular Mechanisms
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(9), 2703; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19092703 - 11 Sep 2018
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 4071
Abstract
The functional aspect of scalp hair is not only to protect from solar radiation and heat/cold exposure but also to contribute to one’s appearance and personality. Progressive hair loss has a cosmetic and social impact. Hair undergoes three stages of hair cycle: the [...] Read more.
The functional aspect of scalp hair is not only to protect from solar radiation and heat/cold exposure but also to contribute to one’s appearance and personality. Progressive hair loss has a cosmetic and social impact. Hair undergoes three stages of hair cycle: the anagen, catagen, and telogen phases. Through cyclical loss and new-hair growth, the number of hairs remains relatively constant. A variety of factors, such as hormones, nutritional status, and exposure to radiations, environmental toxicants, and medications, may affect hair growth. Androgens are the most important of these factors that cause androgenic alopecia. Other forms of hair loss include immunogenic hair loss, that is, alopecia areata. Although a number of therapies, such as finasteride and minoxidil, are approved medications, and a few others (e.g., tofacitinib) are in progress, a wide variety of structurally diverse classes of phytochemicals, including those present in ginseng, have demonstrated hair growth-promoting effects in a large number of preclinical studies. The purpose of this review is to focus on the potential of ginseng and its metabolites on the prevention of hair loss and its underlying mechanisms. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Natural Products for the Treatment of Autoimmune Arthritis: Their Mechanisms of Action, Targeted Delivery, and Interplay with the Host Microbiome
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(9), 2508; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19092508 - 24 Aug 2018
Cited by 31 | Viewed by 3466
Abstract
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, debilitating illness characterized by painful swelling of the joints, inflammation of the synovial lining of the joints, and damage to cartilage and bone. Several anti-inflammatory and disease-modifying drugs are available for RA therapy. However, the prolonged use [...] Read more.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, debilitating illness characterized by painful swelling of the joints, inflammation of the synovial lining of the joints, and damage to cartilage and bone. Several anti-inflammatory and disease-modifying drugs are available for RA therapy. However, the prolonged use of these drugs is associated with severe side effects. Furthermore, these drugs are effective only in a proportion of RA patients. Hence, there is a need to search for new therapeutic agents that are effective yet safe. Interestingly, a variety of herbs and other natural products offer a vast resource for such anti-arthritic agents. We discuss here the basic features of RA pathogenesis; the commonly used animal models of RA; the mainstream drugs used for RA; the use of well-characterized natural products possessing anti-arthritic activity; the application of nanoparticles for efficient delivery of such products; and the interplay between dietary products and the host microbiome for maintenance of health and disease induction. We believe that with several advances in the past decade in the characterization and functional studies of natural products, the stage is set for widespread clinical testing and/or use of these products for the treatment of RA and other diseases. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Biological Activities and Safety of Citrus spp. Essential Oils
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(7), 1966; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19071966 - 05 Jul 2018
Cited by 53 | Viewed by 7188
Abstract
Citrus fruits have been a commercially important crop for thousands of years. In addition, Citrus essential oils are valuable in the perfume, food, and beverage industries, and have also enjoyed use as aromatherapy and medicinal agents. This review summarizes the important biological activities [...] Read more.
Citrus fruits have been a commercially important crop for thousands of years. In addition, Citrus essential oils are valuable in the perfume, food, and beverage industries, and have also enjoyed use as aromatherapy and medicinal agents. This review summarizes the important biological activities and safety considerations of the essential oils of sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), bitter orange (Citrus aurantium), neroli (Citrus aurantium), orange petitgrain (Citrus aurantium), mandarin (Citrus reticulata), lemon (Citrus limon), lime (Citrus aurantifolia), grapefruit (Citrus × paradisi), bergamot (Citrus bergamia), Yuzu (Citrus junos), and kumquat (Citrus japonica). Full article
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Open AccessReview
Natural Products for Drug Discovery in the 21st Century: Innovations for Novel Drug Discovery
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(6), 1578; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19061578 - 25 May 2018
Cited by 179 | Viewed by 8632
Abstract
The therapeutic properties of plants have been recognised since time immemorial. Many pathological conditions have been treated using plant-derived medicines. These medicines are used as concoctions or concentrated plant extracts without isolation of active compounds. Modern medicine however, requires the isolation and purification [...] Read more.
The therapeutic properties of plants have been recognised since time immemorial. Many pathological conditions have been treated using plant-derived medicines. These medicines are used as concoctions or concentrated plant extracts without isolation of active compounds. Modern medicine however, requires the isolation and purification of one or two active compounds. There are however a lot of global health challenges with diseases such as cancer, degenerative diseases, HIV/AIDS and diabetes, of which modern medicine is struggling to provide cures. Many times the isolation of “active compound” has made the compound ineffective. Drug discovery is a multidimensional problem requiring several parameters of both natural and synthetic compounds such as safety, pharmacokinetics and efficacy to be evaluated during drug candidate selection. The advent of latest technologies that enhance drug design hypotheses such as Artificial Intelligence, the use of ‘organ-on chip’ and microfluidics technologies, means that automation has become part of drug discovery. This has resulted in increased speed in drug discovery and evaluation of the safety, pharmacokinetics and efficacy of candidate compounds whilst allowing novel ways of drug design and synthesis based on natural compounds. Recent advances in analytical and computational techniques have opened new avenues to process complex natural products and to use their structures to derive new and innovative drugs. Indeed, we are in the era of computational molecular design, as applied to natural products. Predictive computational softwares have contributed to the discovery of molecular targets of natural products and their derivatives. In future the use of quantum computing, computational softwares and databases in modelling molecular interactions and predicting features and parameters needed for drug development, such as pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics, will result in few false positive leads in drug development. This review discusses plant-based natural product drug discovery and how innovative technologies play a role in next-generation drug discovery. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Copaifera of the Neotropics: A Review of the Phytochemistry and Pharmacology
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(5), 1511; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19051511 - 18 May 2018
Cited by 35 | Viewed by 2652
Abstract
The oleoresin of Copaifera trees has been widely used as a traditional medicine in Neotropical regions for thousands of years and remains a popular treatment for a variety of ailments. The copaiba resins are generally composed of a volatile oil made up largely [...] Read more.
The oleoresin of Copaifera trees has been widely used as a traditional medicine in Neotropical regions for thousands of years and remains a popular treatment for a variety of ailments. The copaiba resins are generally composed of a volatile oil made up largely of sesquiterpene hydrocarbons, such as β-caryophyllene, α-copaene, β-elemene, α-humulene, and germacrene D. In addition, the oleoresin is also made up of several biologically active diterpene acids, including copalic acid, kaurenoic acid, alepterolic acid, and polyalthic acid. This review presents a summary of the ecology and distribution of Copaifera species, the traditional uses, the biological activities, and the phytochemistry of copaiba oleoresins. In addition, several biomolecular targets relevant to the bioactivities have been implicated by molecular docking methods. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Antimalarial Activity of Plant Metabolites
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(5), 1382; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19051382 - 06 May 2018
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 3044
Abstract
Malaria, as a major global health problem, continues to affect a large number of people each year, especially those in developing countries. Effective drug discovery is still one of the main efforts to control malaria. As natural products are still considered as a [...] Read more.
Malaria, as a major global health problem, continues to affect a large number of people each year, especially those in developing countries. Effective drug discovery is still one of the main efforts to control malaria. As natural products are still considered as a key source for discovery and development of therapeutic agents, we have evaluated more than 2000 plant extracts against Plasmodium falciparum. As a result, we discovered dozens of plant leads that displayed antimalarial activity. Our phytochemical study of some of these plant extracts led to the identification of several potent antimalarial compounds. The prior comprehensive review article entitled “Antimalarial activity of plant metabolites” by Schwikkard and Van Heerden (2002) reported structures of plant-derived compounds with antiplasmodial activity and covered literature up to the year 2000. As a continuation of this effort, the present review covers the antimalarial compounds isolated from plants, including marine plants, reported in the literature from 2001 to the end of 2017. During the span of the last 17 years, 175 antiplasmodial compounds were discovered from plants. These active compounds are organized in our review article according to their plant families. In addition, we also include ethnobotanical information of the antimalarial plants discussed. Full article
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