Lignans of sesame: purification methods, biological activities and biosynthesis--a review

Bioorg Chem. 2013 Oct:50:1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.bioorg.2013.06.009. Epub 2013 Jul 19.


Lignans are a group of compounds consisting of dimers of phenyl propane units. They are found in diverse forms distributed in a variety of plants. Sesame lignans in particular are obtained from Sesamum indicum, a highly prized oilseed crop cultivated widely in many countries in the east. The plant is the main source of clinically important antioxidant lignans such as sesamin, sesamolin, sesaminol and sesamol. These lignans exhibit antihypertensive, anticancerous and hypocholesterolemic activities as well especially in humans due to which they have become compounds of tremendous research interest in recent times. Sesamin is synthesized from shikimic acid through phenylpropanoid pathway and metabolised into enterolignans which play a pivotal role in protection against several hormone related diseases. In this paper we present an overview of current status of research on sesame lignans with respect to the analytical methods employed, the biological activities and biosynthesis of sesame lignans.

Keywords: Biosynthesis; Enterolignans; HPLC; Lignans; Sesamin; Sesamum indicum.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Diet
  • Humans
  • Lignans / biosynthesis*
  • Lignans / chemistry
  • Lignans / isolation & purification*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Sesamum / chemistry*


  • Lignans