In the process of screening for pancreatic lipase inhibitors, which could be used as an anti-obesity measure, the methanol extract of Dioscorea nipponica Makino powder (DP) appeared to have potent inhibitory activity against porcine pancreatic lipase with an IC50 value of 5-10 μg/ml, where the enzyme activity was assayed by using 4-methylumbelliferyl oleate as a substrate. Further purification of active components present in the herb generated dioscin that belongs to the saponin family. Dioscin and its aglycone, diosgenin, both suppressed the time-dependent increase of blood triacylglycerol level when orally injected with corn oil to mice, suggesting their inhibitory potential against fat absorption. Sprague-Dawley rats fed on a high-fat diet containing 5% Dioscorea nipponica Makino and 40% beef tallow gained significantly less body weight and adipose tissue than control animals fed on a high-fat diet alone during an 8-week experimental period (P<0.05).
2003 by Japan Society for Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Agrochemistry