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Food Chem Toxicol. 2008 Jan;46(1):73-81. Epub 2007 Jul 4.

Characterization of the radical scavenging and antioxidant activities of danshensu and salvianolic acid B.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Engineering, School of Chemical Engineering and Technology, Tianjin University, P.O. Box 6888, Tianjin 300072, PR China.


Danshensu (3-(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl) lactic acid) and salvianolic acid B, two natural phenolic acids of caffeic acid derivatives isolated from Salvia miltiorrhiza root of the most widely used traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of various cardiovascular diseases, have been reported to have potential protective effects from oxidative injury. To better understand their biological functions, the in vitro radical scavenging and antioxidant activities of danshensu and salvianolic acid B were evaluated along with vitamin C. Both danshensu and salvianolic acid B exhibited higher scavenging activities against free hydroxyl radicals (HO()), superoxide anion radicals (O(2)(-)), 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazyl (DPPH) radicals and 2-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS) radicals than vitamin C. In contrary, danshensu and salvianolic acid B showed weaker iron chelating and hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) scavenging activities than vitamin C. As expressed as vitamin C equivalent capacity (VCEAC), the relative VCEAC values (mg/100ml) were in the order of salvianolic acid B (18.59) > danshensu (12.89) > vitamin C (10.00) by ABTS radical assay. The protective efficiencies against hydrogen peroxide induced human vein vascular endothelial cell damage were correlated with their antioxidant activities. Analysis of structure-activity relationship of these two compounds showed that the condensation and conjugation of danshensu and caffeic acid appears important for antioxidant activity. These results indicated that danshensu and salvianolic acid B are efficient radical scavengers and antioxidants, and salvianolic acid B is superior to danshensu. Their radical scavenging and antioxidant properties might have potential applications in food and healthcare industry.

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