Bioactive Compounds from Plants and Foods with Pharmaceutical Interest 2022

A special issue of Pharmaceuticals (ISSN 1424-8247). This special issue belongs to the section "Natural Products".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 April 2022) | Viewed by 74182

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universidad San Jorge, Villanueva de Gállego, 50830 Zaragoza, Spain
Interests: natural products; functional foods; medicinal plants; bioactive compounds; polyphenols; anthocyanins; antioxidants; enzyme inhibitors
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Bioactive compounds from plants, foods or other natural sources represent a particularly important tool for improving health or preventing/treating certain diseases. There is currently a big interest in the study of bioactive compounds, extracts, and new ingredients from natural sources in order to produce pharmaceuticals, functional foods, nutraceuticals, botanicals, and dietary supplements.

Certain non-nutritive bioactive compounds present in foods and plants, known as phytochemicals (polyphenols, terpenes, alkaloids), offer a wide chemical diversity responsible for a wide range of pharmacological and biological properties; additionally, other bioactive compounds can be macro- or micronutrients with additional health benefits beyond their nutritional properties (omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, dietary fiber, vitamins, aminoacids, etc.).

This Special Issue on “Bioactive Compounds from Plants and Foods with Pharmaceutical Interest” comprises a collection of original research and review articles about novel advances in the development and application of bioactive compounds and extracts from natural matrices. Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Bioactivity of functional foods and medicinal plants for the development of dietary supplements, botanicals, medicines, or cosmetics;
  • Extraction and identification of bioactive compounds from foods, plants, or natural sources with pharmacological applications;
  • Antioxidants, polyphenols, and their uses in oxidative stress conditions;
  • Essential oils and aromatic plants with pharmaceutical, cosmeceutical, or agrochemical interest.

Dr. Víctor López
Prof. Dr. Filippo Maggi
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • bioactive compounds
  • functional foods
  • medicinal plants
  • polyphenols
  • essential oils
  • antioxidants
  • natural products
  • phytochemicals

Published Papers (21 papers)

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14 pages, 1717 KiB  
Article
Discovery of a Multifunctional Octapeptide from Lingzhi with Antioxidant and Tyrosinase Inhibitory Activity
by Yodying Yingchutrakul, Sucheewin Krobthong, Kiattawee Choowongkomon, Phakorn Papan, Pawitrabhorn Samutrtai, Thanisorn Mahatnirunkul, Thitikorn Chomtong, Nitipol Srimongkolpithak, Theeranuch Jaroenchuensiri and Chanat Aonbangkhen
Pharmaceuticals 2022, 15(6), 684; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph15060684 - 30 May 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2692
Abstract
Ganoderma lucidum or Lingzhi is a fungus species widely known as a traditional medicine. Exploring the beneficial peptides by hydrolysis using pepsin and trypsin has been extensively performed to identify new bioactive natural products. A multifunctional peptide that expresses potential scavenging activity and [...] Read more.
Ganoderma lucidum or Lingzhi is a fungus species widely known as a traditional medicine. Exploring the beneficial peptides by hydrolysis using pepsin and trypsin has been extensively performed to identify new bioactive natural products. A multifunctional peptide that expresses potential scavenging activity and tyrosinase inhibition is valuable in therapeutic and cosmetic applications. This study aimed to identify and investigate the effects of a novel multifunctional peptide from Lingzhi on the melanogenic enzymes in melanoma cells by a targeted-proteomics approach. The multifunctional peptide was de novo sequenced by LC-MS/MS to be NH2-PVRSSNCA-CO2H (octapeptide). This sequence was chemically synthesized by solid-phase peptide synthesis (SPPS). The antioxidant ability of the synthesized octapeptide was measured by the DPPH, ABTS, and FRAP assays. The results showed that the peptide exhibited an antioxidant activity equal to 0.121 ± 0.01 mg equivalent to ascorbic acid, 0.173 ± 0.03 mg equivalent to gallic acid, and 2.21 ± 0.23 mM equivalent to FeSO4, respectively, which is comparable to these well-known antioxidants. The proteomics approach identified a total of 5804 proteins and several pathways involved in the effects of the octapeptide in melanoma cells. Targeted proteomics revealed three specific proteins associated with pigmentation including Rab29, Dct, and Tyrp1. The Rab29 and Dct were upregulated whereas Tyrp1 was downregulated in the octapeptide treatment group. These findings could be used in the understanding of the molecular functions of the multifunctional octapeptide on melanogenic enzymes, supporting its potential as a therapeutic and cosmetic ingredient. Full article
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17 pages, 3831 KiB  
Article
Dihydroconiferyl Ferulate Isolated from Dendropanax morbiferus H.Lév. Suppresses Stemness of Breast Cancer Cells via Nuclear EGFR/c-Myc Signaling
by Yu-Chan Ko, Ren Liu, Hu-Nan Sun, Bong-Sik Yun, Hack Sun Choi and Dong-Sun Lee
Pharmaceuticals 2022, 15(6), 664; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph15060664 - 26 May 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2029
Abstract
Breast cancer is the leading cause of global cancer incidence and breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) have been identified as the target to overcome breast cancer in patients. In this study, we purified a BCSC inhibitor from Dendropanax morbiferus H.Lév. leaves through several [...] Read more.
Breast cancer is the leading cause of global cancer incidence and breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) have been identified as the target to overcome breast cancer in patients. In this study, we purified a BCSC inhibitor from Dendropanax morbiferus H.Lév. leaves through several open column and high-performance liquid chromatography via activity-based purification. The purified cancer stem cell (CSC) inhibitor was identified as dihydroconiferyl ferulate using nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectrometry. Dihydroconiferyl ferulate inhibited the proliferation and mammosphere formation of breast cancer cells and reduced the population of CD44high/CD24low cells. Dihydroconiferyl ferulate also induced apoptosis, inhibited the growth of mammospheres and reduced the level of total and nuclear EGFR protein. It suppressed the EGFR levels, the interaction of Stat3 with EGFR, and c-Myc protein levels. Our findings show that dihydroconiferyl ferulate reduced the level of nuclear epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and induced apoptosis of BCSCs through nEGFR/Stat3-dependent c-Myc deregulation. Dihydroconiferyl ferulate exhibits potential as an anti-CSC agent through nEGFR/Stat3/c-Myc signaling. Full article
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14 pages, 1302 KiB  
Article
Vascular Effects of Polyphenols from Agrimonia eupatoria L. and Role of Isoquercitrin in Its Vasorelaxant Potential in Human Arteries
by Jéssica Malheiros, Daniela M. Simões, Pedro E. Antunes, Artur Figueirinha, Maria Dulce Cotrim and Diogo A. Fonseca
Pharmaceuticals 2022, 15(5), 638; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph15050638 - 22 May 2022
Viewed by 2102
Abstract
Agrimonia eupatoria L. has been traditionally used for the treatment of inflammatory diseases but also as a hypotensive. To our knowledge, only one study has previously suggested an improvement in vascular endothelial function in diabetic conditions, as the underlying mechanisms and responsible compounds [...] Read more.
Agrimonia eupatoria L. has been traditionally used for the treatment of inflammatory diseases but also as a hypotensive. To our knowledge, only one study has previously suggested an improvement in vascular endothelial function in diabetic conditions, as the underlying mechanisms and responsible compounds are unknown. In this study, we aimed to assess the direct vascular effects of Agrimonia eupatoria L. in human arteries. The infusion elicited a mild increase in basal vascular tone and a significant potentiation of the adrenergic contraction of 49.18% at 0.02 mg/mL, suggesting the presence of compounds with mild vasoconstrictor activity. In contrast, the ethyl acetate fraction inhibited adrenergic contraction by 80.65% at 2 mg/mL and elicited no effect on basal vascular tone. A potent concentration-dependent vasorelaxation was observed for both the infusion and the ethyl acetate fraction (maximal relaxation above 76% and 47%, respectively). Inhibition of nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase elicited significant decreases in the vasorelaxation to the infusion, as, for the ethyl acetate fraction, only the cyclooxygenase pathway appeared to be involved. Isoquercitrin elicited a vasoactivity consistent with the ethyl acetate fraction, suggesting this is a major component responsible for the vasorelaxant properties of A. eupatoria. Further research is warranted to fully evaluate its vasoprotective properties with therapeutic potential in several conditions, e.g., atherosclerosis. Full article
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20 pages, 1279 KiB  
Article
Mangifera indica ‘Namdokmai’ Prevents Neuronal Cells from Amyloid Peptide Toxicity and Inhibits BACE-1 Activities in a Drosophila Model of Alzheimer’s Amyloidosis
by Piya Temviriyanukul, Suwapat Kittibunchakul, Piyapat Trisonthi, Thanit Kunkeaw, Woorawee Inthachat, Dalad Siriwan and Uthaiwan Suttisansanee
Pharmaceuticals 2022, 15(5), 591; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph15050591 - 11 May 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3455
Abstract
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurological illness with few effective treatments. Thus, ameliorating the effects of AD using natural products has attracted global attention with promising efficacy and safety. In this study, ten tropical fruits including Ananas comosus ‘Phulae’, Ananas comosus ‘Pattavia’, [...] Read more.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive neurological illness with few effective treatments. Thus, ameliorating the effects of AD using natural products has attracted global attention with promising efficacy and safety. In this study, ten tropical fruits including Ananas comosus ‘Phulae’, Ananas comosus ‘Pattavia’, Carica papaya ‘Khaekdum’, Carica papaya ‘Khaeknuan’, Durio zibethinus ‘Monthong’, Durio zibethinus ‘Chanee’, Psidium guajava ‘Kimju’, Psidium guajava ‘Keenok’, Mangifera indica ‘Kaew’ and Mangifera indica ‘Namdokmai’ were screened for their inhibitory activities against the key enzymes, cholinesterases and β-secretase (BACE-1), involved in AD pathogenesis. The top three fruit extracts with promising in vitro anti-AD activities were further investigated using rat pheochromocytoma PC-12 neuronal cell line and Drosophila AD model. Data showed that M. indica ‘Kaew’, M. indica ‘Namdokmai’ and P. guajava ‘Kimju’ reduced Aβ1–42-mediated neurotoxicity by promoting glutathione-dependent enzymes, while M. indica ‘Namdokmai’ limited Aβ1–42 peptide formation via BACE-1 inhibition and amended locomotory behavior of the Drosophila AD model. Results indicated the potential anti-AD properties of tropical fruits, particularly M. indica ‘Namdokmai’ in the prevention of Aβ1–42-mediated neurotoxicity and as a BACE-1 blocker. Full article
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17 pages, 3706 KiB  
Article
Food-Derived β-Carboline Alkaloids Ameliorate Lipid Droplet Accumulation in Human Hepatocytes
by Dya Fita Dibwe, Saki Oba, Nire Takeishi, Toshihiro Sakurai, Takayuki Tsukui, Hitoshi Chiba and Shu-Ping Hui
Pharmaceuticals 2022, 15(5), 578; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph15050578 - 05 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2132
Abstract
Lipid droplet accumulation (LDA) in hepatocytes is the initial stage of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). In the search for natural compounds for the prevention of NAFLD, a series of β-carboline alkaloid derivatives, inspired by flazin and its derivative, newly identified in Crassostrea [...] Read more.
Lipid droplet accumulation (LDA) in hepatocytes is the initial stage of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). In the search for natural compounds for the prevention of NAFLD, a series of β-carboline alkaloid derivatives, inspired by flazin and its derivative, newly identified in Crassostrea gigas Thunberg. extracts, were examined for LDA inhibition (LDAI) activity in oleic acid–loaded hepatocytes (HepG2). Eight compounds with a piperidine or pyridine C-ring were chemically synthesized (18). Among them, compounds 2 and 4 (flazin) with a carboxy group at C-3 and furfuryl alcohol moiety at C-1 showed low cytotoxicity and they exhibited significant LDAI activity. Compound 2 with piperidine C-ring was identified for the first time in C. gigas extract, and ameliorated the lipid accumulation with the LDAI value of 25.4%. Active compounds 2 and 4 significantly inhibited triacylglycerol species accumulation in cells. These compounds upregulated ATGL and downregulated SREBP1, FASN, and SCD1 genes, suggesting that they activated lipolysis and suppressed lipogenesis, respectively. These results suggest that β-carboline alkaloids, especially compounds 2 and 4, might be potentially useful for preventing NAFLD. Full article
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15 pages, 4351 KiB  
Article
Paeoniflorin Alleviates Skeletal Muscle Atrophy in Ovariectomized Mice through the ERα/NRF1 Mitochondrial Biogenesis Pathway
by Ki-Sun Park, Hyungjun Kim, Hye Jin Kim, Kang-In Lee, Seo-Young Lee and Jieun Kim
Pharmaceuticals 2022, 15(4), 390; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph15040390 - 23 Mar 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3006
Abstract
Muscle atrophy in postmenopausal women is caused by estrogen deficiency and a variety of inflammatory factors, including tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα). Paeoniflorin (PNF), a natural compound with anti-inflammatory properties, improves estradiol synthesis. Here, we demonstrate that PNF inhibits the progression of TNFα-induced [...] Read more.
Muscle atrophy in postmenopausal women is caused by estrogen deficiency and a variety of inflammatory factors, including tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα). Paeoniflorin (PNF), a natural compound with anti-inflammatory properties, improves estradiol synthesis. Here, we demonstrate that PNF inhibits the progression of TNFα-induced skeletal muscle atrophy after menopause by restoring mitochondrial biosynthesis. Differentiated myoblasts damaged by TNFα were restored by PNF, as evident by the increase in the expression of myogenin (MyoG) and myosin heavy chain 3 (Myh3)—the markers of muscle differentiation. Moreover, diameter of atrophied myotubes was restored by PNF treatment. TNFα-repressed nuclear respiratory factor 1 (NRF1) and mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM) (a major regulator of mitochondrial biosynthesis) were restored by PNF, via regulation by estrogen receptor alpha (ERα), an upregulator of NRF1. This mechanism was confirmed in ovariectomized (OVX) mice with a ~40% reduction in the cross-sectional area of the anterior tibialis muscle. OVX mice administered PNF (100, 300 mg/kg/day) for 12 weeks recovered more than ~20%. Behavioral, rotarod, and inverted screen tests showed that PNF enhances reduced muscle function in OVX mice. ERα restored expression of mitofusin 1 (MFN1) and mitofusin 2 (MFN2) (mitochondrial fusion markers) and dynamin-related protein (DRP1) and fission 1 (FIS1) (mitochondrial fission markers). Therefore, PNF can prevent muscle atrophy in postmenopausal women by inhibiting dysfunctional mitochondrial biogenesis. Full article
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12 pages, 510 KiB  
Article
Effects of Ultramicronized Palmitoylethanolamide (um-PEA) in COVID-19 Early Stages: A Case–Control Study
by Maria Albanese, Giulia Marrone, Agostino Paolino, Manuela Di Lauro, Francesca Di Daniele, Carlo Chiaramonte, Cartesio D’Agostini, Annalisa Romani, Alessandro Cavaliere, Cristina Guerriero, Andrea Magrini, Nicola Biagio Mercuri, Nicola Di Daniele and Annalisa Noce
Pharmaceuticals 2022, 15(2), 253; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph15020253 - 19 Feb 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3243
Abstract
Ultramicronized palmitoylethanolamide (um-PEA), a compound with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties, appears to be a potential adjuvant treatment for early stages of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In our study, we enrolled 90 patients with confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 that were randomized into two [...] Read more.
Ultramicronized palmitoylethanolamide (um-PEA), a compound with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties, appears to be a potential adjuvant treatment for early stages of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In our study, we enrolled 90 patients with confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 that were randomized into two groups, homogeneous for age, gender and BMI. The first group received oral supplementation based on um-PEA at a dose of 1800 mg/day for a total of 28 days; the second group was the control group (R.S. 73.20). At baseline (T0) and after 28 days of um-PEA treatment (T1), we monitored: routine laboratory parameters, inflammatory and oxidative stress (OS) biomarkers, lymphocytes subpopulation and COVID-19 serological response. At T1, the um-PEA-treated group presented a significant reduction in inflammation compared to the control group (CRP p = 0.007; IL-6 p = 0.0001; neutrophils to lymphocytes ratio p = 0.044). At T1, the controls showed a significant increase in OS compared to the treated group (FORT p = 0.05). At T1, the um-PEA group exhibited a significant decrease in D-dimer levels (p = 0.0001) and higher levels of IgG against SARS-CoV-2 (p = 0.0001) compared to the controls. Our data demonstrated, in a randomized clinical trial, the beneficial effects of um-PEA in both asymptomatic and mild-symptomatic patients related to reductions in inflammatory state, OS and coagulative cascade alterations. Full article
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22 pages, 4866 KiB  
Article
Magnolol and Luteolin Inhibition of α-Glucosidase Activity: Kinetics and Type of Interaction Detected by In Vitro and In Silico Studies
by Francine Medjiofack Djeujo, Eugenio Ragazzi, Miriana Urettini, Beatrice Sauro, Elena Cichero, Michele Tonelli and Guglielmina Froldi
Pharmaceuticals 2022, 15(2), 205; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph15020205 - 08 Feb 2022
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2550
Abstract
Magnolol and luteolin are two natural compounds recognized in several medicinal plants widely used in traditional medicine, including type 2 diabetes mellitus. This research aimed to determine the inhibitory activity of magnolol and luteolin on α-glucosidase activity. Their biological profile was studied by [...] Read more.
Magnolol and luteolin are two natural compounds recognized in several medicinal plants widely used in traditional medicine, including type 2 diabetes mellitus. This research aimed to determine the inhibitory activity of magnolol and luteolin on α-glucosidase activity. Their biological profile was studied by multispectroscopic methods along with inhibitory kinetic analysis and computational experiments. Magnolol and luteolin decreased the enzymatic activity in a concentration-dependent manner. With 0.075 µM α-glucosidase, the IC50 values were similar for both compounds (~ 32 µM) and significantly lower than for acarbose (815 μM). Magnolol showed a mixed-type antagonism, while luteolin showed a non-competitive inhibition mechanism. Thermodynamic parameters suggested that the binding of magnolol was predominantly sustained by hydrophobic interactions, while luteolin mainly exploited van der Waals contacts and hydrogen bonds. Synchronous fluorescence revealed that magnolol interacted with the target, influencing the microenvironment around tyrosine residues, and circular dichroism explained a rearrangement of the secondary structure of α-glucosidase from the initial α-helix to the final conformation enriched with β-sheet and random coil. Docking studies provided support for the experimental results. Altogether, the data propose magnolol, for the first time, as a potential α-glucosidase inhibitor and add further evidence to the inhibitory role of luteolin. Full article
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21 pages, 3557 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Bioactive Properties of Lipophilic Fractions of Edible and Non-Edible Parts of Nasturtium officinale (Watercress) in a Model of Human Malignant Melanoma Cells
by Sotiris Kyriakou, Venetia Tragkola, Heba Alghol, Ioannis Anestopoulos, Tom Amery, Kyle Stewart, Paul G. Winyard, Dimitrios T. Trafalis, Rodrigo Franco, Aglaia Pappa and Mihalis I. Panayiotidis
Pharmaceuticals 2022, 15(2), 141; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph15020141 - 25 Jan 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3435
Abstract
Watercress is an enriched source of phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), among other phytochemicals, with an antioxidant capacity. The aim of this study was to (i) chemically characterize and (ii) biologically evaluate the profile of the main health-promoting compounds contained in edible (i.e., [...] Read more.
Watercress is an enriched source of phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), among other phytochemicals, with an antioxidant capacity. The aim of this study was to (i) chemically characterize and (ii) biologically evaluate the profile of the main health-promoting compounds contained in edible (i.e., mixture of leaves and lateral buds) and non-edible (i.e., stems) parts of watercress in an in vitro model of malignant melanoma consisting of human malignant melanoma (A375), non-melanoma (A431) and keratinocyte (HaCaT) cells. The extraction of the main constituents of watercress was performed by subjecting the freeze-dried edible and non-edible samples through different extraction protocols, whereas their concentration was obtained utilizing analytical methodologies. In addition, cell viability was evaluated by the Alamar Blue assay, whereas levels of oxidative stress and apoptosis were determined by commercially available kits. The edible watercress sample contained a higher amount of various nutrients and phytochemicals in the hexane fraction compared to the non-edible one, as evidenced by the presence of PEITC, phenolics, flavonoids, pigments, ascorbic acid, etc. The cytotoxicity potential of the edible watercress sample in the hexane fraction was considerably higher than the non-edible one in A375 cells, whereas A431 and HaCaT cells appeared to be either more resistant or minimally affected, respectively. Finally, levels of oxidative stress and apoptotic induction were increased in both watercress samples, but the magnitude of the induction was much higher in the edible than the non-edible watercress samples. Herein, we provide further evidence documenting the potential development of watercress extracts (including watercress waste by-products) as promising anti-cancer agent(s) against malignant melanoma cells. Full article
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18 pages, 6829 KiB  
Article
Whey Proteins Isolate-Based Biopolymeric Combinations to Microencapsulate Supercritical Fluid Extracted Oleoresins from Sea Buckthorn Pomace
by Liliana Mihalcea, Iuliana Aprodu, Loredana Dumitrașcu, Elena Iulia Cucolea, George-Mădălin Dănilă, Elena Enachi, Vasilica Barbu, Oana Emilia Constantin, Leontina Grigore-Gurgu and Nicoleta Stănciuc
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(12), 1217; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14121217 - 24 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2172
Abstract
In this study, high-value, carotenoid-rich oleoresin obtained by supercritical carbon dioxide (SFE-CO2) extraction was used to develop five variants of microencapsulated delivery system, based on whey proteins isolate (WPI), in combination with inulin (I), pectin (P) or lactose (L). The WPI:I [...] Read more.
In this study, high-value, carotenoid-rich oleoresin obtained by supercritical carbon dioxide (SFE-CO2) extraction was used to develop five variants of microencapsulated delivery system, based on whey proteins isolate (WPI), in combination with inulin (I), pectin (P) or lactose (L). The WPI:I and WPI:L variants were also obtained by conjugation via Maillard reaction. The microencapsulation of the SFE-CO2 sea buckthorn pomace oleoresin was performed by emulsion, complex coacervation and freeze-drying, which allowed for the obtaining of five powders, with different phytochemicals profile. The WPI:I conjugate showed the highest level of total carotenoids, whereas the counterpart WPI:L showed the highest content in linoleic acid (46 ± 1 mg/g) and palmitoleic acid (20.0 ± 0.5 mg/g). The β-tocopherol and β-sitosterol were identified in all variants, with the highest content in the conjugated WPI:L variant. Both WPI:L and WPI:I conjugate samples presented similar IC50 value for inhibitory activity against pancreatic lipase and α-amylase; the highest activity was observed for the conjugated WPI:I. The WPI:P combination allowed the highest release of carotenoids in the gastro-intestinal environment. All the powders exhibited poor flowing properties, whereas water activity (aw) ranged from 0.084 ± 0.03 to 0.241 ± 0.003, suggesting that all variants are stable during storage. In case of solubility, significant differences were noticed between non-heated and glycated samples, with the highest value for the WPI:I and the lowest for glycated WPI:I. The structural analysis revealed the presence of finer spherosomes in WPI:I and WPI:L, with a reduced clustering capacity, whereas the particles in the conjugated samples were more uniform and aggregated into a three-dimensional network. Full article
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16 pages, 1002 KiB  
Article
Original Contributions to the Chemical Composition, Microbicidal, Virulence-Arresting and Antibiotic-Enhancing Activity of Essential Oils from Four Coniferous Species
by Diana-Carolina Visan, Eliza Oprea, Valeria Radulescu, Ion Voiculescu, Iovu-Adrian Biris, Ani Ioana Cotar, Crina Saviuc, Mariana Carmen Chifiriuc and Ioana Cristina Marinas
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1159; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14111159 - 13 Nov 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2018
Abstract
This study aimed to establish the essential oil (EO) composition from young shoots of Picea abies, Larix decidua, Pseudotsuga menziesii, and Pinus nigra harvested from Romania and evaluate their antimicrobial and anti-virulence activity, as well as potential synergies with currently [...] Read more.
This study aimed to establish the essential oil (EO) composition from young shoots of Picea abies, Larix decidua, Pseudotsuga menziesii, and Pinus nigra harvested from Romania and evaluate their antimicrobial and anti-virulence activity, as well as potential synergies with currently used antibiotics. The samples’ EO average content varied between 0.62% and 1.02% (mL/100 g plant). The mono- and sesquiterpene hydrocarbons were dominant in the composition of the studied EOs. The antimicrobial activity revealed that the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values for the tested EOs and some pure compounds known for their antimicrobial activity ranged from 6.25 to 100 µL/mL. The most intensive antimicrobial effect was obtained for the Pinus nigra EO, which exhibited the best synergistic effect with some antibiotics against Staphylococcus aureus strains (i.e., oxacillin, tetracycline, erythromycin and gentamycin). The subinhibitory concentrations (sMIC) of the coniferous EOs inhibited the expression of soluble virulence factors (DN-ase, lipase, lecithinase, hemolysins, caseinase and siderophore-like), their efficiency being similar to that of the tested pure compounds, and inhibited the rhl gene expression in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, suggesting their virulence-arresting drug potential. Full article
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13 pages, 3148 KiB  
Article
Therapeutic Effects of Hydroalcoholic Extracts from the Ancient Apple Mela Rosa dei Monti Sibillini in Transient Global Ischemia in Rats
by Hasan Yousefi-Manesh, Ahmad Reza Dehpour, Seyed Mohammad Nabavi, Malihe Khayatkashani, Mohammad Hossein Asgardoon, Mohamad Hasan Derakhshan, Sahand Adib Moradi, Mohammad Sheibani, Seyed Mohammad Tavangar, Samira Shirooie, Joice Guileine Nkuimi Wandjou, Giovanni Caprioli, Stefania Sut, Stefano Dall’Acqua and Filippo Maggi
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1106; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14111106 - 29 Oct 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2547
Abstract
The Mela Rosa dei Monti Sibillini is an ancient apple variety cultivated by Romans in the foothills of the Sibillini Mountains, central Italy, showing potential as a source of nutraceuticals. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the protective effects of the [...] Read more.
The Mela Rosa dei Monti Sibillini is an ancient apple variety cultivated by Romans in the foothills of the Sibillini Mountains, central Italy, showing potential as a source of nutraceuticals. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the protective effects of the hydroalcoholic extracts from the peel (APE) and pulp (APP) of this fruit in an animal model of transient global ischemia. Chemical constituents were analyzed by liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC-DAD-MSn) indicating several polyphenols such as B-type procyanidins, quercetin derivatives and hydroxycinnamic acids as the main bioactive components. Acute pre-treatment of extracts (30 mg/kg, i.p.) significantly decreased the brain levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β (p < 0.01) and TNF-α (p < 0.001 and p < 0.01 for APE and APP, respectively), the expression of caspase-3 (p < 0.01, For APE) and MDA (p < 0.05), a lipid peroxidation biomarker in rats. Both extracts restricted the pathological changes of the brain induced by ischemic stroke in hematoxylin and eosin assay. Moreover, they improved the scores of behavioral tests in grid-walking and modified neurological severity scores (mNSS) tests. In conclusion, these results proved this ancient Italian apple is a source of nutraceuticals able to protect/prevent damage from brain ischemia. Full article
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17 pages, 1456 KiB  
Article
Comparison of Ethanolic and Aqueous Populus balsamifera L. Bud Extracts by Different Extraction Methods: Chemical Composition, Antioxidant and Antibacterial Activities
by Monika Stanciauskaite, Mindaugas Marksa, Lina Babickaite, Daiva Majiene and Kristina Ramanauskiene
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(10), 1018; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14101018 - 02 Oct 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3161
Abstract
The balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera L.) buds that grow in Lithuania are a polyphenol-rich plant material with a chemical composition close to that of propolis. In order to potentially adapt the extracts of this plant’s raw material for therapeutic purposes, it is [...] Read more.
The balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera L.) buds that grow in Lithuania are a polyphenol-rich plant material with a chemical composition close to that of propolis. In order to potentially adapt the extracts of this plant’s raw material for therapeutic purposes, it is important to carry out detailed studies on the chemical composition and biological activity of balsam poplar buds. An important step is to evaluate the yield of polyphenols by different extraction methods and using different solvents. According to our research, extracts of balsam poplar buds collected in Lithuania are dominated by p-coumaric (496.9–13,291.2 µg/g), cinnamic acid (32.9–11,788.5 µg/g), pinobanksin (34.9–1775.5 µg/g) and salicin (215.3–1190.7 µg/g). The antioxidant activity of poplar buds was evaluated by the ABTS (2,2-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid), DPPH (2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl) and FRAP (ferric-reducing antioxidant power) methods, all extracts showed antioxidant activity and the obtained results correlated with the obtained amounts of total phenolic compounds in the extracts (ABTS r = 0.974; DPPH r = 0.986; FRAP r = 0.955, p < 0.01). Studies of antimicrobial activity have shown that ethanolic extracts have an antimicrobal activity effect against Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis and Escherichia coli. The extracts showed a better antimicrobal activity against gram-positive bacteria. Full article
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19 pages, 6136 KiB  
Article
Neuroprotective Effects against Glutamate-Induced HT-22 Hippocampal Cell Damage and Caenorhabditis elegans Lifespan/Healthspan Enhancing Activity of Auricularia polytricha Mushroom Extracts
by Chanin Sillapachaiyaporn, Panthakarn Rangsinth, Sunita Nilkhet, Alison T. Ung, Siriporn Chuchawankul and Tewin Tencomnao
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(10), 1001; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14101001 - 29 Sep 2021
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 3247
Abstract
Oxidative stress is associated with several diseases, particularly neurodegenerative diseases, commonly found in the elderly. The attenuation of oxidative status is one of the alternatives for neuroprotection and anti-aging. Auricularia polytricha (AP), an edible mushroom, contains many therapeutic properties, including antioxidant properties. Herein, [...] Read more.
Oxidative stress is associated with several diseases, particularly neurodegenerative diseases, commonly found in the elderly. The attenuation of oxidative status is one of the alternatives for neuroprotection and anti-aging. Auricularia polytricha (AP), an edible mushroom, contains many therapeutic properties, including antioxidant properties. Herein, we report the effects of AP extracts on antioxidant, neuroprotective, and anti-aging activities. The neuroprotective effect of AP extracts against glutamate-induced HT-22 neuronal damage was determined by evaluating the cytotoxicity, intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation, and expression of antioxidant enzyme genes. Lifespan and healthspan assays were performed to examine the effects of AP extracts from Caenorhabditis elegans. We found that ethanolic extract (APE) attenuated glutamate-induced HT-22 cytotoxicity and increased the expression of antioxidant enzyme genes. Moreover, APE promoted in the longevity and health of the C. elegans. Chemical analysis of the extracts revealed that APE contains the highest quantity of flavonoids and a reasonable percentage of phenols. The lipophilic compounds in APE were identified by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), revealing that APE mainly contains linoleic acid. Interestingly, linoleic acid suppressed neuronal toxicity and ROS accumulation from glutamate induction. These results indicate that AP could be an exciting natural source that may potentially serves as neuroprotective and anti-aging agents. Full article
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13 pages, 3138 KiB  
Article
Anti-Inflammatory Activity of 4-((1R,2R)-3-Hydroxy-1-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-1-methoxypropan-2-yl)-2-methoxyphenol Isolated from Juglans mandshurica Maxim. in LPS-Stimulated RAW 264.7 Macrophages and Zebrafish Larvae Model
by Su-Hyeon Cho, SeonJu Park, Hoibin Jeong, Song-Rae Kim, Myeong Seon Jeong, Miri Choi, Seung Hyun Kim and Kil-Nam Kim
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(8), 771; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14080771 - 06 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2256
Abstract
Juglans mandshurica Maxim., a traditional folk medicinal plant, is widely distributed in Korea and China. In our previous study, we isolated a new phenylpropanoid compound, 4-((1R,2R)-3-hydroxy-1-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-1-methoxypropan-2-yl)-2-methoxyphenol (HHMP), from J. mandshurica. In the present study, we evaluated the anti-inflammatory [...] Read more.
Juglans mandshurica Maxim., a traditional folk medicinal plant, is widely distributed in Korea and China. In our previous study, we isolated a new phenylpropanoid compound, 4-((1R,2R)-3-hydroxy-1-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-1-methoxypropan-2-yl)-2-methoxyphenol (HHMP), from J. mandshurica. In the present study, we evaluated the anti-inflammatory activity of HHMP on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated RAW 264.7 cells and zebrafish larvae. HHMP significantly inhibited LPS-induced nitric oxide (NO) and prostaglandin E2 production in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, HHMP treatment considerably suppressed LPS-induced expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase-2. We also demonstrated the mechanisms of HHMP inhibition of inflammatory responses in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 cells via Western blot analysis and immunofluorescence staining. Furthermore, HHMP significantly inhibited NO production in LPS-stimulated zebrafish larvae. Consequently, we established that HHMP significantly inhibited the LPS-induced activation of NF-κB and MAPK and the nuclear translocation of p65 in RAW 264.7 cells. Taken together, our findings demonstrate the effect of HHMP on LPS-induced inflammatory responses in vitro and in vivo, suggesting its potential to be used as a natural anti-inflammatory agent. Full article
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Review

Jump to: Research, Other

24 pages, 2345 KiB  
Review
Pharmacokinetics and Biological Activity of Cucurbitacins
by Eugenia Elisa Delgado-Tiburcio, Jorge Cadena-Iñiguez, Edelmiro Santiago-Osorio, Lucero del Mar Ruiz-Posadas, Israel Castillo-Juárez, Itzen Aguiñiga-Sánchez and Marcos Soto-Hernández
Pharmaceuticals 2022, 15(11), 1325; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph15111325 - 26 Oct 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2823
Abstract
Cucurbitacins are a class of secondary metabolites initially isolated from the Cucurbitaceae family. They are important for their analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiviral, and anticancer biological actions. This review addresses pharmacokinetic parameters recently reported, including absorption, metabolism, distribution, and elimination phases of cucurbitacins. It [...] Read more.
Cucurbitacins are a class of secondary metabolites initially isolated from the Cucurbitaceae family. They are important for their analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiviral, and anticancer biological actions. This review addresses pharmacokinetic parameters recently reported, including absorption, metabolism, distribution, and elimination phases of cucurbitacins. It includes recent studies of the molecular mechanisms of the biological activity of the most studied cucurbitacins and some derivatives, especially their anticancer capacity, to propose the integration of the pharmacokinetic profiles of cucurbitacins and the possibilities of their use. The main botanical genera and species of American origin that have been studied, and others whose chemo taxonomy makes them essential sources for the extraction of these metabolites, are summarized. Full article
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33 pages, 1609 KiB  
Review
Physiological Effects and Human Health Benefits of Hibiscus sabdariffa: A Review of Clinical Trials
by Efigenia Montalvo-González, Zuamí Villagrán, Sughey González-Torres, Laura Elena Iñiguez-Muñoz, Mario Alberto Isiordia-Espinoza, José Martín Ruvalcaba-Gómez, Ramón Ignacio Arteaga-Garibay, José Luis Acosta, Napoleón González-Silva and Luis Miguel Anaya-Esparza
Pharmaceuticals 2022, 15(4), 464; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph15040464 - 12 Apr 2022
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 8787
Abstract
Hibiscus sabdariffa Linn. Malvaceae (HS) is characterized by its edible calyxes. The HS calyxes are widely used for cosmetic, food, and medicinal applications. According to ethnobotanical evidence, decoction, infusion, or maceration extracts from HS calyxes have been used in folk medicine to treat [...] Read more.
Hibiscus sabdariffa Linn. Malvaceae (HS) is characterized by its edible calyxes. The HS calyxes are widely used for cosmetic, food, and medicinal applications. According to ethnobotanical evidence, decoction, infusion, or maceration extracts from HS calyxes have been used in folk medicine to treat many ailments. Moreover, several in vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated the pharmacological properties and potential human health benefits of HS consumption. On the other hand, the evaluation of the physiological effects and health benefits of HS in clinical studies is most challenging. Therefore, this narrative review summarizes and discusses the physiological effects and health benefits of HS calyxes reported in clinical trials. Preparations obtained from HS calyxes (extracts, infusions, decoction, teas, beverages, capsules, and pills) are used as non-pharmacological therapies to prevent/control diverse chronic non-communicable diseases. The most-reported HS health benefits are its antihypertensive, antidyslipidemic, hypoglycemic, body fat mass reduction, nephroprotective, antianemic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-xerostomic activities; these effects are associated with the phytochemicals found in HS. Moreover, no adverse effects were reported during the clinical trials. However, clinical studies exhibited some limitations; thus, further studies are required to validate the clinical efficacy of HS in large-scale studies with higher doses and a good experimental design Full article
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50 pages, 9034 KiB  
Review
Discovering the Potential of Natural Antioxidants in Age-Related Macular Degeneration: A Review
by Kah-Hui Wong, Hui-Yin Nam, Sze-Yuen Lew, Murali Naidu, Pamela David, Tengku Ain Kamalden, Siti Nurma Hanim Hadie and Lee-Wei Lim
Pharmaceuticals 2022, 15(1), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph15010101 - 14 Jan 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 4882
Abstract
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a multifactorial disease associated with anatomical changes in the inner retina. Despite tremendous advances in clinical care, there is currently no cure for AMD. This review aims to evaluate the published literature on the therapeutic roles of natural [...] Read more.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a multifactorial disease associated with anatomical changes in the inner retina. Despite tremendous advances in clinical care, there is currently no cure for AMD. This review aims to evaluate the published literature on the therapeutic roles of natural antioxidants in AMD. A literature search of PubMed, Web of Science and Google Scholar for peer-reviewed articles published between 1 January 2011 and 31 October 2021 was undertaken. A total of 82 preclinical and 18 clinical studies were eligible for inclusion in this review. We identified active compounds, carotenoids, extracts and polysaccharides, flavonoids, formulations, vitamins and whole foods with potential therapeutic roles in AMD. We evaluated the integral cellular signaling pathways including the activation of antioxidant pathways and angiogenesis pathways orchestrating their mode of action. In conclusion, we examined the therapeutic roles of natural antioxidants in AMD which warrant further study for application in clinical practice. Our current understanding is that natural antioxidants have the potential to improve or halt the progression of AMD, and tailoring therapeutics to the specific disease stages may be the key to preventing irreversible vision loss. Full article
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41 pages, 2954 KiB  
Review
Pharmacology and Phytochemistry of Ecuadorian Medicinal Plants: An Update and Perspectives
by Chabaco Armijos, Jorge Ramírez, Melissa Salinas, Giovanni Vidari and Alírica I. Suárez
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(11), 1145; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14111145 - 11 Nov 2021
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 3466
Abstract
The use of plants as therapeutic agents is part of the traditional medicine that is practiced by many indigenous communities in Ecuador. The aim of this study was to update a review published in 2016 by including the studies that were carried out [...] Read more.
The use of plants as therapeutic agents is part of the traditional medicine that is practiced by many indigenous communities in Ecuador. The aim of this study was to update a review published in 2016 by including the studies that were carried out in the period 2016–July 2021 on about 120 Ecuadorian medicinal plants. Relevant data on raw extracts and isolated secondary metabolites were retrieved from different databases, resulting in 104 references. They included phytochemical and pharmacological studies on several non-volatile compounds, as well as the chemical composition of essential oils (EOs). The tested biological activities are also reported. The potential of Ecuadorian plants as sources of products for practical applications in different fields, as well the perspectives of future investigations, are discussed in the last part of the review. Full article
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28 pages, 983 KiB  
Review
Plant Polyphenols for Aging Health: Implication from Their Autophagy Modulating Properties in Age-Associated Diseases
by James Michael Brimson, Mani Iyer Prasanth, Dicson Sheeja Malar, Premrutai Thitilertdecha, Atul Kabra, Tewin Tencomnao and Anchalee Prasansuklab
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(10), 982; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14100982 - 27 Sep 2021
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 5554
Abstract
Polyphenols are a family of naturally occurring organic compounds, majorly present in fruits, vegetables, and cereals, characterised by multiple phenol units, including flavonoids, tannic acid, and ellagitannin. Some well-known polyphenols include resveratrol, quercetin, curcumin, epigallocatechin gallate, catechin, hesperetin, cyanidin, procyanidin, caffeic acid, and [...] Read more.
Polyphenols are a family of naturally occurring organic compounds, majorly present in fruits, vegetables, and cereals, characterised by multiple phenol units, including flavonoids, tannic acid, and ellagitannin. Some well-known polyphenols include resveratrol, quercetin, curcumin, epigallocatechin gallate, catechin, hesperetin, cyanidin, procyanidin, caffeic acid, and genistein. They can modulate different pathways inside the host, thereby inducing various health benefits. Autophagy is a conserved process that maintains cellular homeostasis by clearing the damaged cellular components and balancing cellular survival and overall health. Polyphenols could maintain autophagic equilibrium, thereby providing various health benefits in mediating neuroprotection and exhibiting anticancer and antidiabetic properties. They could limit brain damage by dismantling misfolded proteins and dysfunctional mitochondria, thereby activating autophagy and eliciting neuroprotection. An anticarcinogenic mechanism is stimulated by modulating canonical and non-canonical signalling pathways. Polyphenols could also decrease insulin resistance and inhibit loss of pancreatic islet β-cell mass and function from inducing antidiabetic activity. Polyphenols are usually included in the diet and may not cause significant side effects that could be effectively used to prevent and treat major diseases and ailments. Full article
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Other

Jump to: Research, Review

18 pages, 1859 KiB  
Systematic Review
The Effect of Curcumin Differs on Individual Cognitive Domains across Different Patient Populations: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
by I-Chen Tsai, Chih-Wei Hsu, Chun-Hung Chang, Ping-Tao Tseng and Ke-Vin Chang
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(12), 1235; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph14121235 - 28 Nov 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 5412
Abstract
Curcumin is a polyphenol with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that has been shown to be effective in ameliorating cognitive decline in animal studies. However, its clinical effectiveness is inconclusive, and relevant gastrointestinal adverse events (AEs) have been reported. The aim of this [...] Read more.
Curcumin is a polyphenol with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that has been shown to be effective in ameliorating cognitive decline in animal studies. However, its clinical effectiveness is inconclusive, and relevant gastrointestinal adverse events (AEs) have been reported. The aim of this meta-analysis was to summarize the existing evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of effects of curcumin on overall cognitive function, individual cognitive domains, and gastrointestinal AE. The study includes 8 RCTs and 389 participants. A random-effects model was used for the meta-analysis. Compared with the placebo group, the curcumin group was associated with an improvement in working memory (Hedges’ g = 0.396, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.078 to 0.714, p = 0.015) and a borderline benefit in processing speed (Hedges’ g = 0.303, 95% CI = −0.013 to 0.619, p = 0.06). In the domains of language, episodic memory/visual learning, verbal memory, cognitive flexibility/problem solving, and overall cognitive function, no significant difference existed for the comparison between the curcumin and placebo groups. The curcumin group had a significantly higher risk of gastrointestinal AEs than the placebo group (odds ratio = 3.019, 95% CI = 1.118 to 8.150, p = 0.029). In the future, the effects of curcumin on working memory, processing speed, and gastrointestinal AE should be further investigated. Full article
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