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Chin J Nat Med. 2015 Aug;13(8):578-87. doi: 10.1016/S1875-5364(15)30053-4.

Advances in the pharmacological activities and mechanisms of diosgenin.

Author information

1
Jiangsu Key Laboratory of TCM Evaluation and Translational Research, Department of Complex Prescription of TCM, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing 211198, China.
2
Jiangsu Key Laboratory of TCM Evaluation and Translational Research, Department of Complex Prescription of TCM, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing 211198, China. Electronic address: junpingkou@163.com.

Abstract

Diosgenin, a well-known steroid sapogenin derived from plants, has been used as a starting material for production of steroidal hormones. The present review will summarize published literature concerning pharmacological potential of diosgenin, and the underlying mechanisms of actions. Diosgenin has shown a vast range of pharmacological activities in preclinical studies. It exhibits anticancer, cardiovascular protective, anti-diabetes, neuroprotective, immunomodulatory, estrogenic, and skin protective effects, mainly by inducing apoptosis, suppressing malignant transformation, decreasing oxidative stress, preventing inflammatory events, promoting cellular differentiation/proliferation, and regulating T-cell immune response, etc. It interferes with cell death pathways and their regulators to induce apoptosis. Diosgenin antagonizes tumor metastasis by modulating epithelial-mesenchymal transition and actin cytoskeleton to change cellular motility, suppressing degradation of matrix barrier, and inhibiting angiogenesis. Additionally, diosgenin improves antioxidant status and inhibits lipid peroxidation. Its anti-inflammatory activity is through inhibiting production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, enzymes and adhesion molecules. Furthermore, diosgenin drives cellular growth/differentiation through the estrogen receptor (ER) cascade and transcriptional factor PPARγ. In summary, these mechanistic studies provide a basis for further development of this compound for pharmacotherapy of various diseases.

KEYWORDS:

Diosgenin; Multiple targets; Pharmacological activities; Steroid sapogenin

PMID:
26253490
DOI:
10.1016/S1875-5364(15)30053-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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