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      Ferulic Acid: Therapeutic Potential Through Its Antioxidant Property

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          There has been considerable public and scientific interest in the use of phytochemicals derived from dietary components to combat human diseases. They are naturally occurring substances found in plants. Ferulic acid (FA) is a phytochemical commonly found in fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, sweet corn and rice bran. It arises from metabolism of phenylalanine and tyrosine by Shikimate pathway in plants. It exhibits a wide range of therapeutic effects against various diseases like cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative. A wide spectrum of beneficial activity for human health has been advocated for this phenolic compound, at least in part, because of its strong antioxidant activity. FA, a phenolic compound is a strong membrane antioxidant and known to positively affect human health. FA is an effective scavenger of free radicals and it has been approved in certain countries as food additive to prevent lipid peroxidation. It effectively scavenges superoxide anion radical and inhibits the lipid peroxidation. It possesses antioxidant property by virtue of its phenolic hydroxyl group in its structure. The hydroxy and phenoxy groups of FA donate electrons to quench the free radicals. The phenolic radical in turn forms a quinone methide intermediate, which is excreted via the bile. The past few decades have been devoted to intense research on antioxidant property of FA. So, the present review deals with the mechanism of antioxidant property of FA and its possible role in therapeutic usage against various diseases.

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          Most cited references 79

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          The effects of plant flavonoids on mammalian cells: implications for inflammation, heart disease, and cancer.

          Flavonoids are nearly ubiquitous in plants and are recognized as the pigments responsible for the colors of leaves, especially in autumn. They are rich in seeds, citrus fruits, olive oil, tea, and red wine. They are low molecular weight compounds composed of a three-ring structure with various substitutions. This basic structure is shared by tocopherols (vitamin E). Flavonoids can be subdivided according to the presence of an oxy group at position 4, a double bond between carbon atoms 2 and 3, or a hydroxyl group in position 3 of the C (middle) ring. These characteristics appear to also be required for best activity, especially antioxidant and antiproliferative, in the systems studied. The particular hydroxylation pattern of the B ring of the flavonoles increases their activities, especially in inhibition of mast cell secretion. Certain plants and spices containing flavonoids have been used for thousands of years in traditional Eastern medicine. In spite of the voluminous literature available, however, Western medicine has not yet used flavonoids therapeutically, even though their safety record is exceptional. Suggestions are made where such possibilities may be worth pursuing.
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            Antioxidant activity of pomegranate juice and its relationship with phenolic composition and processing.

            The antioxidant activity of pomegranate juices was evaluated by four different methods (ABTS, DPPH, DMPD, and FRAP) and compared to those of red wine and a green tea infusion. Commercial pomegranate juices showed an antioxidant activity (18-20 TEAC) three times higher than those of red wine and green tea (6-8 TEAC). The activity was higher in commercial juices extracted from whole pomegranates than in experimental juices obtained from the arils only (12-14 TEAC). HPLC-DAD and HPLC-MS analyses of the juices revealed that commercial juices contained the pomegranate tannin punicalagin (1500-1900 mg/L) while only traces of this compound were detected in the experimental juice obtained from arils in the laboratory. This shows that pomegranate industrial processing extracts some of the hydrolyzable tannins present in the fruit rind. This could account for the higher antioxidant activity of commercial juices compared to the experimental ones. In addition, anthocyanins, ellagic acid derivatives, and hydrolyzable tannins were detected and quantified in the pomegranate juices.
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              Phenolics as potential antioxidant therapeutic agents: mechanism and actions.

              Accumulating chemical, biochemical, clinical and epidemiological evidence supports the chemoprotective effects of phenolic antioxidants against oxidative stress-mediated disorders. The pharmacological actions of phenolic antioxidants stem mainly from their free radical scavenging and metal chelating properties as well as their effects on cell signaling pathways and on gene expression. The antioxidant capacities of phenolic compounds that are widely distributed in plant-based diets were assessed by the Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC), the ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP), the hypochlorite scavenging capacity, the deoxyribose method and the copper-phenanthroline-dependent DNA oxidation assays. Based on the TEAC, FRAP and hypochlorite scavenging data, the observed activity order was: procyanidin dimer>flavanol>flavonol>hydroxycinnamic acids>simple phenolic acids. Among the flavonol aglycones, the antioxidant propensities decrease in the order quercetin, myricetin and kaempferol. Gallic acid and rosmarinic acid were the most potent antioxidants among the simple phenolic and hydroxycinnamic acids, respectively. Ferulic acid displayed the highest inhibitory activity against deoxyribose degradation but no structure-activity relationship could be established for the activities of the phenolic compounds in the deoxyribose assay. The efficacies of the phenolic compounds differ depending on the mechanism of antioxidant action in the respective assay used, with procyanidin dimers and flavan-3-ols showing very potent activities in most of the systems tested. Compared to the physiologically active (glutathione, alpha-tocopherol, ergothioneine) and synthetic (Trolox, BHA, BHT) antioxidants, these compounds exhibited much higher efficacy. Plant-derived phenolics represents good sources of natural antioxidants, however, further investigation on the molecular mechanism of action of these phytochemicals is crucial to the evaluation of their potential as prophylactic agents.

                Author and article information

                J Clin Biochem Nutr
                Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition
                the Society for Free Radical Research Japan (Kyoto, Japan )
                March 2007
                14 March 2007
                : 40
                : 2
                : 92-100
                Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Faculty of Science, Annamalai University, Annamalainagar - 608 002, Tamil Nadu, India
                Author notes
                *To whom correspondence should be addressed. Tel: + (91) 041444-238343 Fax: + (91) 04144-239141 E-mail: biocmr@ ; cmrana@
                Copyright © 2007 JCBN

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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                ferulic acid, antioxidant, oxidative stress, radioprotector, anti-inflammatory


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