Volume 13 Issue 8
Aug.  2015
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Advances in the pharmacological activities and mechanisms of diosgenin

  • Corresponding author: KOU Jun-Ping
  • Received Date: 06-Feb.-2015
    Fund Project: This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81274131), the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions, and 2011 Program for Excellent Scientific and Technological Innovation Team of Jiangsu Higher Education.
  • Diosgenin, a well-known steroid sapogenin derived from plants, has been used as a starting material for production of steroidal hormones. The present review will summarize published literature concerning pharmacological potential of diosgenin, and the underlying mechanisms of actions. Diosgenin has shown a vast range of pharmacological activities in preclinical studies. It exhibits anticancer, cardiovascular protective, anti-diabetes, neuroprotective, immunomodulatory, estrogenic, and skin protective effects, mainly by inducing apoptosis, suppressing malignant transformation, decreasing oxidative stress, preventing inflammatory events, promoting cellular differentiation/proliferation, and regulating T-cell immune response, etc. It interferes with cell death pathways and their regulators to induce apoptosis. Diosgenin antagonizes tumor metastasis by modulating epithelial-mesenchymal transition and actin cytoskeleton to change cellular motility, suppressing degradation of matrix barrier, and inhibiting angiogenesis. Additionally, diosgenin improves antioxidant status and inhibits lipid peroxidation. Its anti-inflammatory activity is through inhibiting production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, enzymes and adhesion molecules. Furthermore, diosgenin drives cellular growth/differentiation through the estrogen receptor (ER) cascade and transcriptional factor PPAR. In summary, these mechanistic studies provide a basis for further development of this compound for pharmacotherapy of various diseases.
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Advances in the pharmacological activities and mechanisms of diosgenin

    Corresponding author: KOU Jun-Ping; 
  • 1. Jiangsu Key Laboratory of TCM Evaluation and Translational Research, Department of Complex Prescription of TCM, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing 211198, China
Fund Project:  This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81274131), the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions, and 2011 Program for Excellent Scientific and Technological Innovation Team of Jiangsu Higher Education.

Abstract: Diosgenin, a well-known steroid sapogenin derived from plants, has been used as a starting material for production of steroidal hormones. The present review will summarize published literature concerning pharmacological potential of diosgenin, and the underlying mechanisms of actions. Diosgenin has shown a vast range of pharmacological activities in preclinical studies. It exhibits anticancer, cardiovascular protective, anti-diabetes, neuroprotective, immunomodulatory, estrogenic, and skin protective effects, mainly by inducing apoptosis, suppressing malignant transformation, decreasing oxidative stress, preventing inflammatory events, promoting cellular differentiation/proliferation, and regulating T-cell immune response, etc. It interferes with cell death pathways and their regulators to induce apoptosis. Diosgenin antagonizes tumor metastasis by modulating epithelial-mesenchymal transition and actin cytoskeleton to change cellular motility, suppressing degradation of matrix barrier, and inhibiting angiogenesis. Additionally, diosgenin improves antioxidant status and inhibits lipid peroxidation. Its anti-inflammatory activity is through inhibiting production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, enzymes and adhesion molecules. Furthermore, diosgenin drives cellular growth/differentiation through the estrogen receptor (ER) cascade and transcriptional factor PPAR. In summary, these mechanistic studies provide a basis for further development of this compound for pharmacotherapy of various diseases.

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