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Phytochem Anal. 2003 Sep-Oct;14(5):290-7.

Structural investigations of isomeric oxidised forms of hyperforin by HPLC-NMR and HPLC-MSn.

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  • 1Institut de Pharmacognosie et Phytochimie, Universit√© de Lausanne, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.


The prenylated phloroglucinol hyperforin, thought to be an essential component for the anti-depressant activity of St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum), is unstable. The facile oxidative degradation of hyperforin poses serious problems for standardisation, and may also dramatically affect the pharmacological activity of the extracts. Hyperforin was dissolved in hexane and stored at room temperature for 3 days and yielded various closely related degradation products which, although difficult to isolate on the preparative scale, have been analysed by on-flow and stop-flow HPLC-NMR and HPLC-MS/MS. From on-line spectroscopic data, and with the aid of complementary in-mixture standard NMR two-dimensional correlation experiments, the different oxidised forms of hyperforin were found to be phloroglucinol derivatives in which a hydroxy-dihydrofuran ring is formed involving the enol OH at C-7 or C-9 (tautomeric form) and the prenyl chain at C-8 of the core nucleus of hyperforin. The strategy followed for the on-line identification of these constituents is discussed.

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