Quercetin 3-O-malonylglucoside in the leaves of mulberry (Morus alba) is a functional analog of ghrelin

Yi Chiao Lin, Chieh Ju Wu, Ping Chung Kuo, Wen Ying Chen, Jason T.C. Tzen

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Mulberry (Morus alba) leaf is traditionally consumed as a functional tea with remedial effects, such as preventing aging-related diseases. Two similar compounds, quercetin 3-O-malonylglucoside, and kaempferol 3-O-malonylglucoside, were detected in mulberry leaves and found to be structural recombinant composites of teaghrelin and emoghrelin, two classes of non-peptidyl compounds functionally identified as analogs of ghrelin. Molecular modeling showed that these two mulberry compounds were able to enter and interact with the ghrelin receptor and theoretical calculation revealed that they were similar to emoghrelin but slightly weaker than teaghrelin in terms of interaction with the receptor. The relatively abundant compound, quercetin 3-O-malonylglucoside was subjected to a bioactivity assay, and the result confirmed that it was able to increase the growth hormone secretion of rat anterior pituitary cells. It seems that quercetin 3-O-malonylglucoside is also a functional analog of ghrelin and presumably a key ingredient for the anti-aging activity of mulberry leaves. Practical applications: According to this study, quercetin 3-O-malonylglucoside and kaempferol 3-O-malonylglucoside are suggested to serve as active ingredients in tea products prepared from mulberry leaves. Contents of these two compounds might be used as key factors for breeding or screening mulberry varieties for commercial cultivation. Moreover, water extract of mulberry leaves containing these compounds can be used as an adequate supplement for functional food.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13379
JournalJournal of Food Biochemistry
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Sept 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Biophysics
  • Pharmacology
  • Cell Biology


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