In food, it is found in sesame seed, in Brassica vegetables and in olive oil. Pinoresinol has also been found to be toxic to larvae of the milkweed bug Oncopeltus fasciatus and of the haematophagous insect Rhodnius prolixus, which is a vector of chagas disease.
Currently, pinoresinol is isolated from plants with low efficiency and low yield.
Reaction of monolignol radicals in the presence of dirigent protein to form (+)-pinoresinol
In the presence of dirigent protein from Forsythia intermedia, production of (+)-pinoresinol is greatly enriched while production of other products of dimerization is inhibited.
Pinoresinol inhibits the enzyme α-glucosidasein vitro and may therefore act as a hypoglycemic agent. A study involving extra virgin olive oil showed that pinoresinol possess in vitro chemoprevention properties. Increased apoptosis and cellular arrest at the G2/M stage in p53-proficient cells occurred. Pinoresinol of olive oil decreases vitamin D intestinal absorption.
Metabolism into enterolignans
Pinoresinol, along with other plant lignans, are converted into enterolignans by intestinal microflora in the human body.
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^Pickel B, Constantin MA, Pfannsteil J, Conrad J, Beifuss U, Schaffer A (March 2007). "An Enantiocomplementary Dirigent Protein for the Enantioselective Laccase-Catalyzed Oxidative Coupling of Phenols". Angewandte Chemie. 53 (4): 273–284. doi:10.1007/s10086-007-0892-x. S2CID195313754.
^Wikul, A; Damsud, T; Kataoka, K; Phuwapraisirisan, P (2012). "(+)-Pinoresinol is a putative hypoglycemic agent in defatted sesame (Sesamum indicum) seeds though inhibiting α-glucosidase". Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters. 22 (16): 5215–7. doi:10.1016/j.bmcl.2012.06.068. PMID22818971.