Extracts of Tsai Tai (Brassica chinensis): enhanced antioxidant activity and anti-aging effects both in vitro and in Caenorhabditis elegans
Tsai Tai is one of the most widely consumed Brassica vegetables in Asian countries because of its good taste and its nutritional benefits. This study evaluated the antioxidant capacity and possible associated health benefits of 3 Tsai Tai (Brassica chinensis) varieties, namely, Hon Tsai Tai, Pak Choi and Choi Sum. The DPPH radical scavenging ability and reducing power assays were performed to evaluate the in vitro activities of the extracts. Caenorhabditis elegans was used as an in vivo model for evaluation of beneficial health effects, including antioxidant activity and delayed aging. In vitro, the Hon Tsai Tai extract exhibited higher antioxidant activities than Pak Choi and Choi Sum, and the total phenolic contents were significantly correlated with the DPPH and RP values. In vivo, the three assayed Tsai Tai extracts significantly increased resistance against paraquat-induced oxidative stress with an increase in survival rates from 15% to 28% compared with controls. However, only the extract from Hon Tsai Tai significantly prolonged the lifespan of Caenorhabditis elegans, with an 8% increase in the mean lifespan with respect to controls. Further evidence of antioxidant protection was obtained by assessing ROS production via the DCF assay. The analyses of intracellular SOD activity and MDA content confirmed the existence of an antioxidant protective effect. These results suggest that Tsai Tai might serve as a good source of natural antioxidants, and in particular, Hon Tsai Tai could be explored as a potential dietary supplement to retard aging.