Free radical scavenging and α-glucosidase inhibition, two potential mechanisms involved in the anti-diabetic activity of oleanolic acid


  • J. M. Castellano Instituto de la Grasa. CSIC. Food and Health Department. Campus of University Pablo de Olavide
  • A. Guinda Instituto de la Grasa. CSIC. Food and Health Department. Campus of University Pablo de Olavide
  • L. Macías Instituto de la Grasa. CSIC. Food and Health Department. Campus of University Pablo de Olavide
  • J. M. Santos-Lozano CIBER Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition (ciberobn). Instituto de Salud Carlos III - Department of Family Medicine. Primary Care Health District Seville. Primary Care Center San Pablo
  • J. Lapetra CIBER Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition (ciberobn). Instituto de Salud Carlos III - Department of Family Medicine. Research Unit. Primary Care Health District Seville
  • M. Rada Instituto de la Grasa. CSIC. Food and Health Department. Campus of University Pablo de Olavide



Anti-diabetic activity, Antioxidant, α-glucosidase inhibitor, Olea europaea, Oleanolic acid


This work investigates the role of oleanolic acid (OA), isolated from the olive (Olea europaea L.) leaf, as a radical scavenger and inhibitor of the hydrolyzing enzymes of dietary carbohydrates. New evidence is provided showing that OA may capture 2,2’-azino-bis (3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonic acid) and peroxyl radicals, and also exert a strong and non -competitive inhibition of α-glucosidase (IC50 10.11 ± 0.30 μM). The kinetic and spectrometric analyses performed indicate that OA interacts with this enzyme inside a hydrophobic pocket, through an endothermic and non spontaneous process of a hydrophobic nature. These are two possible mechanisms by which OA may facilitate a better control of post-prandial hyperglycaemia and oxidative stress, so contributing to preserving insulin signalling. Obesity, insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus are considered the first pandemics of the 21st century. In this sense, OA might be used in future preventive and therapeutic strategies, as an ingredient in new drugs and functional foods.


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How to Cite

Castellano JM, Guinda A, Macías L, Santos-Lozano JM, Lapetra J, Rada M. Free radical scavenging and α-glucosidase inhibition, two potential mechanisms involved in the anti-diabetic activity of oleanolic acid. Grasas aceites [Internet]. 2016Sep.30 [cited 2024Apr.19];67(3):e142. Available from:




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