Pentacyclic triterpenoids including the oleanane, ursane and lupane groups are widely distributed in many medicinal plants, such as Glycyrrhiza species, Gymnema species, Centella asiatica, Camellia sinensis, Crataegus species and Olea europaea, which are commonly used in traditional medicine for the treatment of diabetes and diabetic complications. A large number of bioactive pentacyclic triterpenoids, such as oleanolic acid, glycyrrhizin, glycyrrhetinic acid, ursolic acid, betulin, betulinic acid and lupeol have shown multiple biological activities with apparent effects on glucose absorption, glucose uptake, insulin secretion, diabetic vascular dysfunction, retinopathy and nephropathy. The versatility of the pentacyclic triterpenes provides a promising approach for diabetes management.
Keywords: Diabetes, diabetic complications, herbal medicines, pentacyclic triterpenoids, phytochemicals, structure-activity relationship, Pentacyclic triterpenoids, oleanane, lupane, medicinal plants
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