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Nat Prod Res. 2018 Nov 16:1-7. doi: 10.1080/14786419.2018.1499639. [Epub ahead of print]

Silychristin derivatives conjugated with coniferylalcohols from silymarin and their pancreatic α-amylase inhibitory activity.

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a Division of Fundamental AgriScience and Research, Research Faculty of Agriculture , Hokkaido University , Sapporo , Japan.
b Division of Applied Bioscience, Graduate School of Agriculture , Hokkaido University , Sapporo , Japan.
c Nissei Bio Co. Ltd , Eniwa , Japan.


Silymarin is a mixture of flavonolignans extracted from the fruit of Silybum marianum (milk thistle). The latter is used as a medicinal plant to treat liver and gallbladder disorders. Recently, silymarin has been investigated for its effects against diabetes mellitus, and shown to reduce serum levels of glucose in model animals and in clinical trials. This effect can be explained mainly by the protective effect of silymarin against pancreatic beta-cells, but the involvement of other mechanisms is possible. We demonstrated the α-amylase inhibitory activity of silymarin and investigated the components responsible for this effect. Two major flavonolignans, silibinin and silychristin, did not show inhibition against α-amylase, but two novel silychristin derivatives conjugated with dehydrodiconiferyl alcohol were isolated as the mildly inhibiting components of silymarin. Further analyses indicated the presence of various silychristin derivatives in silymarin that may act synergistically to show α-amylase inhibitory activity.


diabetes mellitus; milk thistle; silymarin; α-amylase

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