Methylglyoxal (MGO) is a highly reactive endogenous metabolite derived from several nonenzymatic and enzymatic reactions, and identified as a well-known precursor of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). In the present study, genistein, a naturally occurring isoflavone derived from soy products, demonstrated significant trapping effects of MGO and consequently formed mono- and di-MGO adducts under physiological conditions (pH 7.4, 37 °C). More than 80.0% of MGO was trapped within 4 h, and the trapping efficiency could be up to 97.7% at 24 h. The reaction adducts formed from genistein and MGO under different ratios were analyzed using LC/MS. We also successfully purified and identified the major mono- and di-MGO conjugated adducts of genistein. The NMR data showed that positions 6 and 8 of the A ring of genistein were the major active sites for trapping MGO. We further demonstrated that genistein could effectively inhibit the formation of AGEs in the human serum albumin (HSA)-MGO assay. Two mono-MGO adducts and one di-MGO adduct of genistein were detected in this assay using LC/MS. The di-MGO adduct of genistein became the dominant reaction product during prolonged incubation. Results from this study, as well as our previous findings on (-)-epigallocatechin 3-gallate (EGCG), phloridzin and phloretin, indicate that dietary flavonoids that have the same A ring structure as genistein, EGCG, phloridzin, and phloretin may have the potential to inhibit the formation of AGEs by trapping reactive dicarbonyl species.
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