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J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 May 7;141(1):228-33. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2012.02.023. Epub 2012 Feb 17.

Saponin rich fractions from Polygonatum odoratum (Mill.) Druce with more potential hypoglycemic effects.

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Chemistry Institute of Pharmaceutical Resources, College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Southwest University, Chongqing 400716, PR China.



The root of Polygonatum odoratum (YuZhu), also a medicinal food has long been used for the treatment of diabetes. The objective of the study was to characterize the anti-diabetic active fractions or compounds in this herb.


Fractions with a different polarity were prepared by solvent extraction and macroporous absorptive resin (D101) column and their anti-diabetic potentials were evaluated by glucose uptake in HepG2 cells and STZ-induced diabetic rats. In addition, α-glycosidase inhibitory activities of active fractions were measured in vitro and chemical compositions including saponin, total flavonoids and total sugar in the fractions were determined.


The n-buthanol fraction, a saponin-rich fraction obtained by partitioning the ethanol extract with n-buthanol after petroleum ether and acetic ether showed the highest anti-diabetic potential in glucose uptake in HepG2 cells followed by acetic ether fraction which was rich in flavonoids. Further fractionation the saponin-rich fraction using macroporous resin column (D101), polysaccharide, flavonoid and saponin rich fractions were obtained by elution with water, 40% and 60% ethanol, respectively and their anti-diabetic potentials proved by glucose uptake test in HepG2 cells and STZ-induced diabetic rats were in the order of saponin rich fraction>flavonoid rich fraction>polysaccharide rich fraction. Long-term therapy test (60d) in severe diabetic rats indicated that saponin-rich fraction significantly ameliorated clinical symptoms of diabetes including the elevated blood glucose, body weight loss as well as the increased food and water intake while flavonoid-rich fraction was more potential than saponin-rich fraction to increase superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity and decrease malondialdehyde (MDA) level in rat plasma. Additionally, saponin-rich fraction and flavonoid-rich fraction showed α-glycosidase inhibitory activity with IC(50) value of 2.05±0.32 and 3.92±0.65mg/ml, respectively.


The results suggested that saponin in this herb was more important than flavonoid in exhibiting anti-diabetic activity and flavonoid contributed more to anti-oxidant activity in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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