Bioavailability, distribution, and antioxidative effects of selected triterpenes in mice

J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Aug 8;60(31):7697-701. doi: 10.1021/jf302529x. Epub 2012 Jul 26.


This study analyzed the content of eight triterpenes (oleanolic acid, ursolic acid, arjunolic acid, asiatic acid, boswellic acid, corosolic acid, madecassic acid, and maslinic acid) in ten vegetables and eight fruits. These compounds at 0.5% were supplied to mice for 4 or 8 weeks. The bioavailability, tissue distribution, and antioxidative protection of these triterpenes were examined. Results showed that triterpenes were detected in eight vegetables and six fruits. Basil and brown mustard contained seven test triterpenes, in the range of 14-102 mg/100 g dry weight. The level of each triterpene in plasma, brain, heart, liver, kidney, colon, and bladder increased as the feeding period was increased from 4 weeks to 8 weeks (P < 0.05). Renal homogenates from mice with triterpene intake had greater antioxidative effects against glucose-induced glutathione loss and malondialdehyde and oxidized glutathione production when compared with those from control groups (P < 0.05). These data support that these triterpenes were absorbed and deposited in their intact forms, which in turn exerted in vivo antioxidative protection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Antioxidants / pharmacokinetics*
  • Biological Availability
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Plant Extracts / analysis
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacokinetics*
  • Triterpenes / analysis
  • Triterpenes / pharmacokinetics*
  • Vegetables / chemistry*


  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Extracts
  • Triterpenes