Taraxacum officinale, the common dandelion, is a plant of the Asteraceae family, which is used as a food and medical herb. Various secondary plant metabolites such as sesquiterpene lactones, triterpenoids, flavonoids, phenolic acids, coumarins, and steroids have been described to be present in T. officinale. Dandelion may exhibit various health benefits, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticarcinogenic properties. We analyzed the leaves and roots of the common dandelion (T. officinale) using high-performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry to determine its sesquiterpene lactone composition. The main compound of the leaf extract taraxinic acid β-d-glucopyranosyl ester (1), a sesquiterpene lactone, was isolated and the structure elucidation was conducted by nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometry. The leaf extract and its main compound 1 activated the transcription factor nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) in human hepatocytes more significantly than the root extract. Furthermore, the leaf extract induced the Nrf2 target gene heme oxygenase 1. Overall, present data suggest that compound 1 may be one of the active principles of T. officinale.
Keywords: HPLC/MS; Nrf2; antioxidant activity; cell culture; isolation.