A Chemical Investigation of the Leaves of Morus alba L

Molecules. 2018 Apr 26;23(5):1018. doi: 10.3390/molecules23051018.


The leaves of Morus alba L. are an important herbal medicine in Asia. The systematic isolation of the metabolites of the leaves of Morus alba L. was achieved using a combination of liquid chromatography techniques. The structures were elucidated by spectroscopic data analysis and the absolute configuration was determined based on electronic circular dichroism (ECD) spectroscopic data and hydrolysis experiments. Their biological activity was evaluated using different biological assays, such as the assessment of their capacity to inhibit the aldose reductase enzyme; the determination of their cytotoxic activity and the evaluation of their neuroprotective effects against the deprivation of serum or against the presence of nicouline. Chemical investigation of the leaves of Morus alba L. resulted in four new structures 14 and a known molecule 5. Compounds 2 and 5 inhibited aldose reductase with IC50 values of 4.33 μM and 6.0 μM compared with the potent AR inhibitor epalrestat (IC50 1.88 × 10−3 μM). Pretreatment with compound 3 decreased PC12 cell apoptosis subsequent serum deprivation condition and pretreatment with compound 5 decreased nicouline-induced PC12 cell apoptosis as compared with control cells (p < 0.001).

Keywords: Morus alba L.; aldose reductase inhibitor; natural products; neuroprotective agent.

MeSH terms

  • Aldehyde Reductase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Circular Dichroism
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / chemistry*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Molecular Structure
  • Morus / chemistry*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / chemistry*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • PC12 Cells / cytology
  • PC12 Cells / drug effects
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry*
  • Rats


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Aldehyde Reductase