Sesquiterpene Lactone Composition and Cellular Nrf2 Induction of Taraxacum officinale Leaves and Roots and Taraxinic Acid β-d-Glucopyranosyl Ester

J Med Food. 2017 Jan;20(1):71-78. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2016.0105. Epub 2016 Dec 27.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Glucosides / chemistry*
  • Glucosides / isolation & purification
  • Glucosides / pharmacology*
  • Hepatocytes / drug effects
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lactones / chemistry*
  • Lactones / isolation & purification
  • Lactones / pharmacology*
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / genetics*
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Plant Roots / chemistry
  • Sesquiterpenes / chemistry*
  • Sesquiterpenes / isolation & purification
  • Sesquiterpenes / pharmacology*
  • Taraxacum / chemistry*
  • Up-Regulation / drug effects


  • Glucosides
  • Lactones
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2
  • NFE2L2 protein, human
  • Plant Extracts
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • taraxinic acid glucopyranosyl ester