r/Health – Japanese scientists isolated 17 metabolites from an endangered tropical plant species, including a novel compound that showed growth inhibitory effects against human tumor cell lines (including breast, leukemia, melanoma, ovary, prostate). 90% of rainforest plants have still not been investigated.

The title of the post is a copy and paste from the first, fifth and last paragraphs of the linked academic press release here :

A Japan-based research team led by Kanazawa University has isolated 17 secondary metabolites, including three novel compounds from the valuable endangered tropical plant species Alangium longiflorum. A newly isolated compound, 8-hydroxytubulosine (1), showed growth inhibitory effects at submicromolar levels against several human tumor cell lines except for drug transporter-overexpressing cells.

The result from NCI-60 panel screening also demonstrated that 1 showed broad spectrum antiproliferative activities at the submicromolar level against most tumor types derived from the breast, central nervous system, leukemia, melanoma, non-small cell lung, ovary, prostate, and renal cells except for the adriamycin-resistant ovarian tumor cell line showing the MDR phenotype (NCI/ADR-RES) and HCT-15, both of which express drug transporter(s).

Surprisingly, ca. 90% of higher plants have still not been subjected to phytochemical investigation. Rainforests can supply rich and diverse plants that are expected to be valuable resources for the discovery of bioactive novel natural products with unique phytochemical properties as drug candidates.

Journal Reference:

Misa Takeuchi, Yohei Saito, Masuo Goto, Katsunori Miyake, David J. Newman, Barry R. O’Keefe, Kuo-Hsiung Lee, Kyoko Nakagawa-Goto.

Antiproliferative Alkaloids from Alangium longiflorum, an Endangered Tropical Plant Species.

Journal of Natural Products, 2018; 81 (8): 1884

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.8b00411

Link: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.jnatprod.8b00411


Alangium longiflorum is currently in extinction crisis, which will likely severely hamper further phytochemical investigation of this plant species from new collections. A crude extract of leaves of A. longiflorum (N33539), collected for the U.S. National Cancer Institute in 1989, showed potent cancer cell line antiproliferative activity. A phytochemical study resulted in the isolation of 17 secondary metabolites, including two new tetrahydroisoquinoline alkaloids, 8-hydroxytubulosine (1) and 2′-O-trans-sinapoylisoalangiside (2), as well as a new sinapolyloxylupene derivative (3). Using in-house assays and NCI-60 panel screening, compound 1 displayed broad-spectrum inhibitory activity at submicromolar levels against most tested tumor cell lines, except for drug-transporter-overexpressing cells. Compound 1 caused accumulation of sub-G1 cells with no effect on cell cycle progression, suggesting that this substance is an apoptosis inducer.

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