Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.) leaves are consumed as vegetables around the world, especially in Southeast Asia. The aim of this study was to investigate the inhibitory effect of sweet potato leaves on low-density lipoprotein oxidation in vitro and in human subjects. We compared the antioxidant activity of 8 kinds of sweet potato leaves. Every sweet potato leaf had high radical scavenging activity and prolonged a lag time for starting low-density lipoprotein oxidation in vitro. We found that sweet potato leaves contained abundant polyphenol compounds and the radical scavenging activity and prolongation rate of lag time were highly correlated with total polyphenol content. We also confirmed that thiobarbituric acid reactive substances production was increased in endothelial cell-mediated low-density lipoprotein oxidation, which was decreased by treatment with sweet potato leaves. We further measured the low-density lipoprotein oxidizability in 13 healthy volunteers after their intake of 18 g of "Suioh", raw sweet potato leaves. "Suioh" prolonged a lag time for starting low-density lipoprotein oxidation and decreased low-density lipoprotein mobility. These results suggest that sweet potato leaves have antioxidant activity leading to the suppression of low-density lipoprotein oxidation.
Keywords: antioxidant activity; atherosclerosis; low-density lipoprotein; polyphenol; sweet potato leaves.