Effects of diosgenin and its derivatives on atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis is one of the leading causes of death in the patients with cardiovascular diseases worldwide. Although some progress has been made in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, the morbidity and mortality of cardiovascular diseases still continue to rise. At present, it is an important topic for researchers to develop safe and effective drugs from natural products to prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases. Diosgenin (DSG) is a plant sterol saponin mainly found in the natural medicinal plants such as fenugreek seeds and wild yam tubers. More and more studies have reported that DSG has significant pharmacological activities such as anticancer, cardiovascular protection, hypolipidemic, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotection. Furthermore, diosgenin is also an important basic raw material for the preparation of steroids and contraceptives in the pharmaceutical industry. Numerous preclinical studies have shown that DSG has great potential in the treatment of various cardiovascular diseases in vivo and in vitro, especially in atherosclerosis. This review mainly discusses the effects of DSG on endothelial dysfunction, lipid profile, and macrophage foam cell formation, VSMC viability, thrombosis and inflammation during the formation of atherosclerosis. Also, the mechanism of DSG on atherosclerosis was elaborated in detail. It is noteworthy that several newly synthesized DSG derivatives and DSG delivery systems have good antithrombotic activity and pharmacokinetic characteristics.