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D-pinitol, a highly valuable product from carob pods: Health-promoting effects and metabolic pathways of this natural super-food ingredient and its derivatives

José Ignacio López-Sánchez Diego A. Moreno Cristina García-Viguer

*Corresponding author: Cristina García-Viguera cgviguera@cebas.csic.es


D-pinitol is a natural compound related to the important family of inositols. It can be found and isolated from many plants, being the active component of ayurvedic remedies such as Talisa patra (Abies webbiana, A. pindrow) or antidiabetic as Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spectabilis). Although many synthetic and semi-synthetic methods have been reported for D-pinitol and its derivatives, through chemical and biochemical transformations, Ceratonia siliqua L. (Carob), a Mediterranean tree now in decline, known because of its environmental advantages, is the only raw material from which D-pinitol can be isolated in quantities enough for a viable commercial exploitation. Fortunately, the pharmacological interest in this compound has risen enormously in the last years owing to their established multifunctional properties through a variety of signalling pathways: i) anti-cancer, through inhibition of TNF-ᾳ and suppression of NF-ⱪB pathway; ii) insulinomimetic and metabolic regulator in type 2 diabetes mellitus, via a post-receptor pathway of insulin action; iii) antioxidant; iv) hepatoprotective; v) immuno-modulator, balancing Th1/Th2 cytokines; vi) osteoporosis preventive, through p38/JNK and NF-ⱪB pathways; vii) anti-aging, via reduction of the insulin/IGF-1 signaling (IIS) pathway; viii) improver of creatine retention; ix) preventive and ameliorative of Alzheimer’s disease through selective g-secretase modulation.
Thus, the present review compress the literature reported to date in relation to the health-promoting effects and metabolic pathways of this naturally occurring super-food ingredient and its derivatives, providing an extensive guide for a future utilization of all of its potentialities, aiming a positive impact in the promotion and recovery of carob crops.

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