Planta Med 1997; 63(6): 529-532
DOI: 10.1055/s-2006-957756
© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Lignans from the Roots of Urtica dioica and their Metabolites Bind to Human Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG)

Matthias Schöttner1 , Dietmar Ganßer2 , Gerhard Spiteller1
  • 1Lehrstuhl Organische Chemie I, Universität Bayreuth, Universitätsstr. 30, D-95440 Bayreuth, Germany
  • 2Institut für Lebensmittelchemie, Universität Hannover, Wunstorfer Str. 14, D-30453 Hannover, Germany
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Publication History



Publication Date:
04 January 2007 (online)


Polar extracts of the stinging nettle (Urtica dioica L.) roots contain the lignans (+)-neoolivil, (-)-secoisolariciresinol, dehydrodiconiferyl alcohol, isolariciresinol, pinoresinol, and 3,4-divanillyltetrahydrofuran. These compounds were either isolated from Urtica roots, or obtained semisynthetically. Their affinity to human sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) was tested in an in vitro assay. In addition, the main intestinal transformation products of plant lignans in humans, enterodiol and entero-lactone, together with enterofuran were checked for their activity. All lignans except (-)-pinoresinol developed a binding affinity to SHBG in the in vitro assay. The affinity of (-)-3,4-divanillyltetrahydrofuran was outstandingly high. These findings are discussed with respect to potential beneficial effects of plant lignans on benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).