BMC Compl Alt Med 19(1)_350 - SHaines et al 051219.pdf (793.85 kB)

ACE inhibitory peptides in standard and fermented deer velvet: an in silico and in vitro investigation

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posted on 2023-05-03, 20:27 authored by Stephen HainesStephen Haines, Mark McCann, Anita Grosvenor, Ancy ThomasAncy Thomas, Alasdair NobleAlasdair Noble, Stefan ClerensStefan Clerens
Background: The use of deer velvet antler (DVA) as a potent traditional medicine ingredient goes back for over 2000 years in Asia. Increasingly, though, DVA is being included as a high protein functional food ingredient in convenient, ready to consume products in Korea and China. As such, it is a potential source of endogenous bioactive peptides and of ‘cryptides’, i.e. bioactive peptides enzymatically released by endogenous proteases, by processing and/or by gastrointestinal digestion. Fermentation is an example of a processing step known to release bioactive peptides from food proteins. In this study, we aimed to identify in silico bioactive peptides and cryptides in DVA, before and after fermentation, and subsequently to validate the major predicted bioactivity by in vitro analysis. Methods: Peptides that were either free or located within proteins were identified in the DVA samples by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) followed by database searching. Bioactive peptides and cryptides were identified in silico by sequence matching against a database of known bioactive peptides. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitory activity was measured by a colorimetric method. Results: Three free bioactive peptides (LVVYPW, LVVYPWTQ and VVYPWTQ) were solely found in fermented DVA, the latter two of which are known ACE inhibitors. However matches to multiple ACE inhibitor cryptides were obtained within protein and peptide sequences of both unfermented and fermented DVA. In vitro analysis showed that the ACE inhibitory activity of DVA was more pronounced in the fermented sample, but both unfermented and fermented DVA had similar activity following release of cryptides by simulated gastrointestinal digestion. Conclusions: DVA contains multiple ACE inhibitory peptide sequences that may be released by fermentation or following oral consumption, and which may provide a health benefit through positive effects on the cardiovascular system. The study illustrates the power of in silico combined with in vitro methods for analysis of the effects of processing on bioactive peptides in complex functional ingredients like DVA.


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Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.


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Springer Nature

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine




Haines, S. R., McCann, M. J., Grosvenor, A. J., Thomas, A., Noble, A., & Clerens, S. (2019). ACE inhibitory peptides in standard and fermented deer velvet: an in silico and in vitro investigation. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 19(1), 350. doi:10.1186/s12906-019-2758-3

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