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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2017, Article ID 4176518, 9 pages
Research Article

Biotransformation of Dioscorea nipponica by Rat Intestinal Microflora and Cardioprotective Effects of Diosgenin

1Department of Pharmaceutical Science, Leshan Vocational & Technical College, Leshan 614000, China
2School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China
3Sichuan Academy of Chinese Medicine Sciences, Chengdu 610041, China
4School of Pharmaceutical Science, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou 511436, China
5Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacology, Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, Southwest Medical University, Luzhou, Sichuan 646000, China
6Shenzhen Research Institute, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen 518057, China
7Institute of Research and Continuing Education (Shenzhen), Hong Kong Baptist University, Shenzhen 518057, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Lin Zhu; kh.ude.ubkh@niluhz and Tao Yi; kh.ude.ubkh@oatiy

Received 9 April 2017; Revised 18 July 2017; Accepted 24 July 2017; Published 20 September 2017

Academic Editor: Cristiana Caliceti

Copyright © 2017 Jia-Fu Feng et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Studying the biotransformation of natural products by intestinal microflora is an important approach to understanding how and why some medicines—particularly natural medicines—work. In many cases, the active components are generated by metabolic activation. This is critical for drug research and development. As a means to explore the therapeutic mechanism of Dioscorea nipponica (DN), a medicinal plant used to treat myocardial ischemia (MI), metabolites generated by intestinal microflora from DN were identified, and the cardioprotective efficacy of these metabolites was evaluated. Our results demonstrate that diosgenin is the main metabolite produced by rat intestinal microflora from DN. Further, our results show that diosgenin protects the myocardium against ischemic insult through increasing enzymatic and nonenzymatic antioxidant levels in vivo and by decreasing oxidative stress damage. These mechanisms explain the clinical efficacy of DN as an anti-MI drug.