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Food Chem Toxicol. 2007 Nov;45(11):2219-27. Epub 2007 Jun 2.

Antioxidant activities of the flaxseed lignan secoisolariciresinol diglucoside, its aglycone secoisolariciresinol and the mammalian lignans enterodiol and enterolactone in vitro.

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  • 1Food, Nutrition and Health, University of British Columbia, 2205 East Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4.


The flaxseed lignan secoisolariciresinol diglucoside (SDG) and mammalian lignans enterodiol (ED) and enterolactone (EL) were previously shown to be effective antioxidants against DNA damage and lipid peroxidation. Others reported inhibition of activated cell chemiluminescence by supra-physiological concentrations of secoisolariciresinol (SECO), ED and EL. Thus, we evaluated the antioxidant efficacy of potential physiological concentrations of SDG, SECO, ED and EL against 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH()), and 2,2'-azo-bis(2-amidinopropane) dihydrochloride (AAPH)-initiated peroxyl radical plasmid DNA damage and phosphatidylcholine liposome lipid peroxidation. SDG and SECO were effective (p<0.01) antioxidants against DPPH() at 25-200muM; whereas, ED and EL were inactive. Efficacy of lignans and controls against AAPH peroxyl radical-induced DNA damage was: SDG>SECO=17alpha-estradiol>ED=EL>genistein>daidzein. Lignan efficacy against AAPH-induced liposome lipid peroxidation was: SDG>SECO=ED=EL. Plant lignan antioxidant activity was attributed to the 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyl substituents of SDG and SECO, versus the meta mono-phenol structures of ED and EL. Benzylic hydrogen abstraction and potential resonance stabilization of phenoxyl radicals in an aqueous environment likely contributed to the antioxidant activity of the mammalian lignans. These represent likely extra- and intracellular antioxidant activities of flax-derived lignans at concentrations potentially achievable in vivo.

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