Antioxidant potential of family Cucurbitaceae with special emphasis on Cucurbita genus: A key to alleviate oxidative stress-mediated disorders.


Salehi B(1), Quispe C(2), Sharifi-Rad J(3)(4), Giri L(5), Suyal R(5), Jugran AK(6), Zucca P(7), Rescigno A(7), Peddio S(7), Bobiş O(8), Moise AR(8), Leyva-Gómez G(9), Del Prado-Audelo ML(9), Cortes H(10), Iriti M(11), Martorell M(12)(13), Cruz-Martins N(14)(15)(16), Kumar M(17), Zam W(18).
Author information:
(1)Medical Ethics and Law Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
(2)Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad Arturo Prat, Iquique, Chile.
(3)Phytochemistry Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
(4)Facultad de Medicina, Universidad del Azuay, Cuenca, Ecuador.
(5)G.B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment & Sustainable Development, Almora, Uttarakhand, India.
(6)G.B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment & Sustainable Development, Srinagar, Uttarakhand, India.
(7)Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Cagliari - Cagliari, University Campus, Monserrato, Italy.
(8)Life Science Institute, Apiculture and Sericulture Department, University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine Cluj-Napoca, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
(9)Departamento de Farmacia, Facultad de Química, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad de México, Mexico.
(10)Laboratorio de Medicina Genómica, Departamento de Genética, Instituto Nacional de Rehabilitación Luis Guillermo Ibarra Ibarra, Ciudad de México, Mexico.
(11)Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Milan State University, Milan, Italy.
(12)Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Pharmacy, and Centre for Healthy Living, University of Concepción, Concepción, Chile.
(13)Universidad de Concepción, Unidad de Desarrollo Tecnológico, UDT, Concepción, Chile.
(14)Faculty of Medicine, University of Porto, Alameda Professor Hernâni Monteiro, Porto, Portugal.
(15)Institute for Research and Innovation in Health
(i3S), University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.
(16)Laboratory of Neuropsychophysiology, Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.
(17)Chemical and Biochemical Processing Division, ICAR - Central Institute for Research on Cotton Technology, Mumbai, India.
(18)Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Analytical and Food Chemistry, Al-Wadi International University, Homs, Syria.


Oxidative stress is the imbalance between reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, and accumulation and the ability of a biological system to clear these reactive products. This imbalance leads to cell and tissue damage causing several disorders in human body, such as neurodegeneration, metabolic problems, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. Cucurbitaceae family consists of about 100 genera and 1,000 species of plants including mostly tropical, annual or perennial, monoecious, and dioecious herbs. The plants from Cucurbita species are rich sources of phytochemicals and act as a rich source of antioxidants. The most important phytochemicals present in the cucurbits are cucurbitacins, saponins, carotenoids, phytosterols, and polyphenols. These bioactive phyto-constituents are responsible for the pharmacological effects including antioxidant, antitumor, antidiabetic, hepatoprotective, antimicrobial, anti-obesity, diuretic, anti-ulcer activity, and antigenotoxic. A wide number of in vitro and in vivo studies have ascribed these health-promoting effects of Cucurbita genus. Results of clinical trials suggest that Cucurbita provides health benefits for diabetic patients, patients with benign prostate hyperplasia, infertile women, postmenopausal women, and stress urinary incontinence in women. The intend of the present review is to focus on the protective role of Cucurbita spp. phytochemicals on oxidative stress-related disorders on the basis of preclinical and human studies. The review will also give insights on the in vitro and in vivo antioxidant potential of the Cucurbitaceae family as a whole.