Pterosins are abundant in ferns, and pterosin A was considered a novel activator of adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase, which is crucial for regulating blood glucose homeostasis. However, the distribution of pterosins in different species of ferns from various places in Taiwan is currently unclear. To address this question, the distribution of pterosins, glucose-uptake efficiency, and protective effects of pterosin A on β-cells were examined. Our results showed that three novel compounds, 13-chloro-spelosin 3-O-β-D-glucopyranoside (1), (3R)-Pterosin D 3-O-β-D-(3'-p-coumaroyl)-glucopyranoside (2), and (2R,3R)-Pterosin L 3-O-β-D-(3'-p-coumaroyl)-glucopyranoside (3), were isolated for the first time from four fern species (Ceratopteris thalictroides, Hypolepis punctata, Nephrolepis multiflora, and Pteridium revolutum) along with 27 known compounds. We also examined the distribution of these pterosin compounds in the mentioned fern species (except N. multiflora). Although all pterosin analogs exhibited the same effects in glucose uptake assays, pterosin A prevented cell death and reduced reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. This paper is the first report to provide new insights into the distribution of pterosins in ferns from Taiwan. The potential anti-diabetic activity of these novel phytocompounds warrants further functional studies.
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