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Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2004 Nov;52(11):1358-61.

Cholinesterase inhibiting withanolides from Withania somnifera.

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  • 1H.E.J. Research Institute of Chemistry, International Center for Chemical Sciences, University of Karachi, Karachi-75270, Pakistan.


A total of two new (1, 2) and four known (3-6) withanolides were isolated from the whole plant of Withania somnifera. Their structures were elucidated on the basis of spectroscopic techniques and were characterized as 6alpha,7alpha-epoxy-3beta,5alpha,20beta-trihydroxy-1-oxowitha-24-enolide (1), 5beta,6beta-epoxy-4beta,17alpha,27-trihydroxy-1-oxowitha-2,24-dienolide (2), withaferin-A (3), 2,3-dihydrowithaferin-A (4), 6alpha,7alpha-epoxy-5alpha,20beta-dihydroxy-1-oxowitha-2,24-dienolide (5), and 5beta,6beta-epoxy-4beta-hydroxy-1-oxowitha-2,14,24-trienolide (6), respectively. Compounds 2, 3, 5, and 6 displayed inhibitory potential against butyrylcholinesterase, but only compounds 3, 4, and 6 were found to be active against acetylcholinesterase.

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