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Life Sci. 1994;54(19):PL321-6.

Enzymic reduction of [6]-gingerol, a major pungent principle of ginger, in the cell-free preparation of rat liver.

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Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520-8034.


A reductive metabolism of S-(+)-[6]-gingerol [1-(4'-hydroxy-3'-methoxyphenyl)-5-hydroxydecan-3-one], the major pungent principle of ginger, was investigated in vitro with phenobarbital-induced rat liver 10,000 x g supernatant containing the NADPH-generating system. The ethyl acetate-extractable products were isolated and two metabolites were identified as diastereomers of [6]-gingerdiol by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. The ratio of two isomers formed in the above reaction was about 1:5, suggesting the stereospecific reduction of S-(+)-[6]-gingerol by carbonyl reductase activity present in the postmitochondrial supernatant fraction of rat liver. The enzymic reduction of S-(+)-[6]-gingerol thus introduces the second asymmetric carbon center in the molecule with concomitant production of S,S- and R,S-isomers of [6]-gingerdiol in different proportions. This stereospecific reduction of [6]-gingerol may be relevant to the clinical use of the compound.

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