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Planta Med. 2006 Jun;72(8):767-70. Epub 2006 Jun 19.

Cytotoxic phenanthrenes from the rhizomes of Tamus communis.

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Department of Pharmacodynamics and Biopharmacy, University of Szeged, Szeged, Hungary.


From the fresh rhizomes of Tamus communis five phenanthrenes (1 - 5) were isolated under the guidance of cytotoxic assays in HeLa cells. The compounds were obtained from the highly active CHCl (3) fraction of the MeOH extract by using multistep chromatographic purifications, including VLC, preparative TLC, HPLC and gel filtration. The compounds were identified by means of EI-mass, UV and NMR spectroscopy as 7-hydroxy-2,3,4-trimethoxyphenanthrene (1), 2,7-dihydroxy-3,4-dimethoxyphenanthrene (nudol) (2), 2,7-dihydroxy-3,4,8-trimethoxyphenanthrene (3), 3,7-dihydroxy-2,4,8-trimethoxyphenanthrene (confusarin) (4), and 3,7-dihydroxy-2,4-dimethoxyphenanthrene (5). Compound 1 is a new natural product, and 2 - 4 were isolated for the first time from T. communis. In the cytotoxic assays, compounds 1 - 3 and 5 significantly inhibited the growth of HeLa cells (IC (50) = 0.97 - 20.18 microM). Compound 3, with an IC (50) value of 0.97 microM, is of special interest because of its high activity.

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