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Planta Med. 2005 Nov;71(11):1040-3.

New insights into the acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity of Lycopodium clavatum.

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  • 1Institute of Pharmacy, Pharmacognosy, Leopold-Franzens University of Innsbruck, Austria.


Looking for acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibiting compounds within the plant kingdom, we came across the triterpene alpha-onocerin, which has recently been described as the active principle (IC(50) of 5.2 microM) of Lycopodium clavatum L. In order to discover related terpenoid structures with similar AChE inhibitory activity, we investigated the roots of Ononis spinosa L. using Ellman's reagent in a microplate assay. No inhibitory effect could be measured, not even with the isolated alpha-onocerin (1), which is in contrast to previous findings. Bioassay-guided fractionation of L. clavatum resulted in the isolation of lyclavatol (2), showing a weak, but dose-dependent inhibitory effect on AChE. (1)H- and (13)C NMR shift assignments for 1 and 2 are presented and discussed.

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