Characterization of the radical scavenging and antioxidant activities of danshensu and salvianolic acid B

Food Chem Toxicol. 2008 Jan;46(1):73-81. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2007.06.034. Epub 2007 Jul 4.


Danshensu (3-(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl) lactic acid) and salvianolic acid B, two natural phenolic acids of caffeic acid derivatives isolated from Salvia miltiorrhiza root of the most widely used traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of various cardiovascular diseases, have been reported to have potential protective effects from oxidative injury. To better understand their biological functions, the in vitro radical scavenging and antioxidant activities of danshensu and salvianolic acid B were evaluated along with vitamin C. Both danshensu and salvianolic acid B exhibited higher scavenging activities against free hydroxyl radicals (HO()), superoxide anion radicals (O(2)(-)), 1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazyl (DPPH) radicals and 2-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS) radicals than vitamin C. In contrary, danshensu and salvianolic acid B showed weaker iron chelating and hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) scavenging activities than vitamin C. As expressed as vitamin C equivalent capacity (VCEAC), the relative VCEAC values (mg/100ml) were in the order of salvianolic acid B (18.59) > danshensu (12.89) > vitamin C (10.00) by ABTS radical assay. The protective efficiencies against hydrogen peroxide induced human vein vascular endothelial cell damage were correlated with their antioxidant activities. Analysis of structure-activity relationship of these two compounds showed that the condensation and conjugation of danshensu and caffeic acid appears important for antioxidant activity. These results indicated that danshensu and salvianolic acid B are efficient radical scavengers and antioxidants, and salvianolic acid B is superior to danshensu. Their radical scavenging and antioxidant properties might have potential applications in food and healthcare industry.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / chemistry*
  • Ascorbic Acid / chemistry
  • Benzofurans / chemistry*
  • Benzothiazoles / chemistry
  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Chelating Agents / chemistry
  • Endothelial Cells / drug effects
  • Ferrous Compounds / chemistry
  • Free Radical Scavengers / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / chemistry
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / toxicity
  • Hydroxyl Radical / chemistry
  • Lactates / chemistry*
  • Oxidants / toxicity
  • Picrates / chemistry
  • Plant Roots / chemistry
  • Salvia / chemistry
  • Sulfonic Acids / chemistry
  • Tetrazolium Salts / chemistry
  • Thiazoles / chemistry


  • Antioxidants
  • Benzofurans
  • Benzothiazoles
  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Chelating Agents
  • Ferrous Compounds
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Lactates
  • Oxidants
  • Picrates
  • Sulfonic Acids
  • Tetrazolium Salts
  • Thiazoles
  • 2,2'-azino-di-(3-ethylbenzothiazoline)-6-sulfonic acid
  • Hydroxyl Radical
  • 3,4-dihydroxyphenyllactic acid
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • salvianolic acid B
  • 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl
  • thiazolyl blue
  • Ascorbic Acid