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Biofactors. 2000;13(1-4):121-5.

Chemistry and function of vegetable polyphenols with high molecular weights.

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Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama University, Tsushima, Japan.


Structure and function of polypehnols with high molecular weights (tannins) were briefly reviewed to better understand the significance of polyphenol-rich foods and beverages. In a survey of bioactive ellagiannins with a macrocyclic structure and/or a gluconic acid core, some new oligomeric ellagitannins (eucarpanins and elaeagnatins) have been found in species of Myrtaceae and Elaeagnaceae, and their structures were elucidated by spectroscopic and chemical methods. Cytotoxic activity against human oral tumor cell lines and antibacterial activity against Helicobacter pylori have been evaluated for the ellagitannins obtained from both plants, and related compounds. The macrocyclic dimers, oentothein B, camelliin B and woodfordin C showed a remarkable cytotoxicity against human oral squamous cell carcinoma, but not against normal cells. These active tannins induced apoptosis of tumor cells. A potent antibacterial activity against Helicobacter pylori was exhibited by monomeric ellagitannins such as tellimagrandin I and stricitinin.

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