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PLoS One. 2017 Aug 8;12(8):e0182658. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0182658. eCollection 2017.

Biochemical characterization and anti-inflammatory properties of an isothiocyanate-enriched moringa (Moringa oleifera) seed extract.

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Department of Plant Biology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States of America.
Center for Natural Product Technologies, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America.
Nutrasorb, LLC, Freehold, New Jersey, United States of America.


Moringa oleifera Lam. is a tropical plant, used for centuries as food and traditional medicine. The aim of this study was to develop, validate and biochemically characterize an isothiocyanate-enriched moringa seed extract (MSE), and to compare the anti-inflammatory effects of MSE-containing moringa isothiocyanate-1 (MIC-1) with a curcuminoid-enriched turmeric extract (CTE), and a material further enriched in its primary phytochemical, curcumin (curcumin-enriched material; CEM). MSE was prepared by incubating ground moringa seeds with water to allow myrosinase-catalyzed enzymatic formation of bioactive MIC-1, the predominant isothiocyanate in moringa seeds. Optimization of the extraction process yielded an extract of 38.9% MIC-1. Phytochemical analysis of MSE revealed the presence of acetylated isothiocyanates, phenolic glycosides unique to moringa, flavonoids, fats and fatty acids, proteins and carbohydrates. MSE showed a reduction in the carrageenan-induced rat paw edema (33% at 500 mg/kg MIC-1) comparable to aspirin (27% at 300 mg/kg), whereas CTE did not have any significant effect. In vitro, MIC-1 at 1 μM significantly reduced the production of nitric oxide (NO) and at 5 μM, the gene expression of LPS-inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and interleukins 1β and 6 (IL-1β and IL-6), whereas CEM did not show any significant activity at all concentrations tested. MIC-1 (10μM) was also more effective at upregulating the nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2) target genes NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1), glutathione S-transferase pi 1 (GSTP1), and heme oxygenase 1 (HO1) than the CEM. Thus, in contrast to CTE and CEM, MSE and its major isothiocyanate MIC-1 displayed strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in vivo and in vitro, making them promising botanical leads for the mitigation of inflammatory-mediated chronic disorders.

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