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

Asha Jaja-Chimedza, Brittany L. Graf, Charlotte Simmler, Youjin Kim, Peter Kuhn, Guido F. Pauli, Ilya Raskin

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112 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0182658
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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