Structural Characterization and Antifatigue Effect In Vivo of Maca (Lepidium meyenii Walp) Polysaccharide

J Food Sci. 2017 Mar;82(3):757-764. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.13619. Epub 2017 Feb 23.


Maca (Lepidium meyenii Walp) polysaccharides (MP) with purity of 99.2% were obtained to investigate their structural characteristics and antifatigue effect in vivo. The physicochemical properties of MP were analyzed through high-performance gel filtration chromatography, IR, monosaccharide composition, methylation, GC-MS, and NMR analyses. The antifatigue effect of MP was evaluated by using a mouse weight-loaded swimming model. MP is an acidic heteropolysaccharide with an average molecular weight (Mw ) of 793.5 kDa. It is composed of D-GalA: D-Glc: L-Ara: D-Man: D-Gal: L-Rha = 35.07:29.98:16.98:13.01:4.21:0.75 (mol, %). The findings revealed that MP contained β-1,3-Galp(A), β-1,3-Glcp, and α-1, 3-Manp linked alternatingly to form a backbone (5:4:1). MP (above mid-dosage 50 mg/kg bw/d) could effectively elongate swimming durations and accelerate average swimming speeds (within the 1st 5 min) of mice (P < 0.05) and improve the serous biochemical parameters of mice. Compared with the control model, high-dosage (100 mg/kg bw/d) MP treatment could significantly enhance glutathione peroxidase and creatine kinase activities (P < 0.05) and decreased lactate dehydrogenase activity (P < 0.01). High-dosage MP could significantly reduce the levels of blood urea nitrogen, lactic acid, and malondialdehyde (P < 0.05). MP is an acidic polysaccharide with a high D-GalA content, which could be responsible for the antifatigue effect of maca.

Keywords: antifatigue effect in vivo; chemical structure; maca (Lepidium meyenii Walp); polysaccharide.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Urea Nitrogen
  • Creatine Kinase / metabolism
  • Fatigue* / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / metabolism
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Lepidium / chemistry*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / blood
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Molecular Structure
  • Molecular Weight
  • Physical Endurance / drug effects*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Polysaccharides / chemistry
  • Polysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Swimming


  • Plant Extracts
  • Polysaccharides
  • Lactic Acid
  • Malondialdehyde
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Creatine Kinase