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Urtica dioica and other less studied Urtica species (Urticaceae) are often used as a food ingredient. Fifteen hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives and sixteen flavonoids, flavone and flavonol-type glycosides were identified in hydroalcoholic extracts from aerial parts of Urtica dioica L., Urtica wrens L. and Urtica membranacea using HPLC-PDA-ESI/MSn. Among them, the 4-caffeoyl-5-p-coumaroylquinic acid and three statin-like 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaroyl flavone derivatives were identified for the first time in Urtica wrens and U. membranacea respectively. Urtica membranacea showed the higher content of flavonoids, mainly luteolin and apigenin C-glycosides, which are almost absent in the other species studied.In vitro, Urtica dioica exhibited greater antioxidant activity but Urtica wrens exhibited stronger anti-inflammatory potential. Interestingly, statin-like compounds detected in Urtica membranacea have been associated with hypocholesterolemic activity making this plant interesting for future investigations. None of the extracts were cytotoxic to macrophages and hepatocytes in bioactive concentrations (200 and 350 mu g/mL), suggesting their safety use in food applications.


Carvalho, Ana Rita;  Costa, Gustavo;  Figueirinha, Artur;  Liberal, Joana;  Prior, Joao A. V.;  Lopes, Maria Celeste;  Cruz, Maria Teresa;  Batista, Maria Teresa

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