Antiobese effects of novel saponins from edible seeds of Japanese horse chestnut (Aesculus turbinata BLUME) after treatment with wood ashes

J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Jun 25;56(12):4783-8. doi: 10.1021/jf800340s. Epub 2008 May 31.


Recently, we have identified novel saponins from edible seeds of Japanese horse chestnut ( Aesculus turbinata BLUME) after processing the natural seeds with wood ashes to remove bitterness. We attempted to determine anti-obesity effects of those saponins from edible seeds as well as natural seeds. The purified individual components of saponins from natural and edible seeds inhibited pancreatic lipase in vitro. The potency was in the order of escins > desacylescins > deacetylescins. Escins Ib and IIb as well as deacetylescins Ib and IIb with the angeloyl moiety were more potent than the corresponding Ia and IIa series with the tigloyl moiety. Moreover, in vivo anti-obesity effects of the saponin fractions were monitored for 8 weeks in mice fed high-fat diets. Saponin fractions from both seeds significantly attenuated the elevation in body weight, the mass of peritoneal adipose tissues, and plasma triacylglycerol, which was accompanied by higher contents of undigested fats in feces without changes in food intake, indicating the effective inhibition of fat digestion in vivo. Taken together, saponin fractions including desacylescins and deacetylescins from edible seeds are potentially useful for the development of nutraceutical foods with anti-obesity effects and more attenuated bitter taste.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aesculus / chemistry*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Eating / drug effects
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Lipase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Pancreas / enzymology
  • Saponins / administration & dosage*
  • Seeds / chemistry*
  • Triglycerides / metabolism
  • Wood / chemistry*


  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Dietary Fats
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Saponins
  • Triglycerides
  • Lipase