Ophiopogon japonicus (of the family lilaceae) is an evergreen perennial and Traditional chinese medicine mostly for the treatment of cardivascular complications and inflammation in the form of the root, referred to as Radix ophiopogon. It is said to have the functions to "moisturize dryness and promote the production of body fluid" and for the treatment of "Xiao Ke" symptom, being interpreted as the treatment of type II diabetes.
The bioactives in this plant seem to either be the steriodal saponin known as Ruscogenin or glycosides based off of ruscogenin, although their concentrations appear to be much lower than the other known plant to contain them (ruscus aculeatus). The homoflavones also present in this plant may also play roles
There also appears to be a polysaccharide fragment associated with antidiabetic properties in plant roots referred to as OJP1 (Ophiopogon japonicus polysaccharide 1) which weights approximately 35.2kDa and is 98.5% carbohydrate; the carbohydrates being arabinose, glucose and galactose in a 1:16:8 ratio.
Other polysaccharides include one known as MDG1 which is a water soluble β-d-fructan (also in the root) that is smaller at 3.4kDa and constitutes up to 4% of the plants roots by dry weight, this polysaccharide has a backbone of β-D-fructofuranosyl molecules (Frufs) connected 2→1 with branches of β-D-fructofuranosyl (2→6) and trace amounts of α-d-Glc. POJ-U1a is a highly branched polysaccharide consisting of pyranoside and funanside, and there is also a series of polysulfated polysaccharides known as sOPS(t), sOPS(80), sJPS(t) and sJPS(50).
The polysaccharides in this plant also appear to be bioactive in regards to diabetes and possible the immune system, and due to their large quantities they may be the major consitutents of consuming the her
The steroidal glycoside Nolinospiroside F has been noted to prolong yeast lifespan in a manner associated with SIRT1 activation and increased antioxidative effects (due to higher SOD expression and reduced oxidation byproducts), and 10µM of Nolinospiroside F appeared to outperform 10µM resveratrol.
Ruscogenin and some of the steroidal lactones (Spicatoside A) in ophiopogon japonicus appear to be able to induce neuritogenesis in PC12 cells at low concentrations (0.3-1μM, 300-1,000nM) in a manner dependent on activating ERK signalling; the potency is lesser than the reference drug of NGF itself (40ng/mL), with NGF increasing neurite growth by 80% relative to baseline and some of the steroidal lactones in the range of 46-54% (control, in medium without any agonist, reaching 10% higher than baseline).
In mice given 5-10mg/kg of pure ruscogenin prior to ischemia/reperfusion (MCAO) did not alter blood flow during ischemia but reduced the infarct size afterwards in a dose-dependent manner by 37.4-63%.
The polysaccharide component of this plant (OJP1) appears to possess antidiabetic properties in basic streptozotocin induced diabetic rat models and in diabetic rats who are also pregnant in a seemingly dose-dependent manner in the rangeof 150-500mg/kg.
In streptozotocin induced diabetic pregnant rats (model for gestational diabetes), the polysaccharide fragment of ophiopogon japonicus (125-500mg/kg) orally for two weeks is able to attenuate changes in blood glucose and insulin thought to be secondary to attenuating the suppression of adiponectin synthesis in adipose tissue.