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Chem Biodivers. 2012 Feb;9(2):428-40. doi: 10.1002/cbdv.201100142.

Cucurbitane triterpenoids from the leaves of Momordica charantia, and their cancer chemopreventive effects and cytotoxicities.

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College of Science and Technology, Nihon University, 1-8-14 Kanda Surugadai, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan.


Seventeen cucurbitane-type triterpenoids, 1-17, including six new compounds, (23E)-3β,25-dihydroxy-7β-methoxycucurbita-5,23-dien-19-al (1), (23S*)-3β-hydroxy-7β,23-dimethoxycucurbita-5,24-dien-19-al (6), (23R*)-23-O-methylmomordicine IV (7), (25ξ)-26-hydroxymomordicoside L (8), 25-oxo-27-normomordicoside L (9), and 25-O-methylkaravilagenin D (12), were isolated from a MeOH extract of the leaves of Japanese Momordica charantia. The structures of new compounds were elucidated on the basis of extensive spectroscopic analyses and comparison with literature. Compounds 1-17 were examined for their inhibitory effects on Epstein-Barr virus early antigen (EBV-EA) activation induced with 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) in Raji cells, a known primary screening test for inhibitors of tumor promotion. Four compounds, 1, (23E)-3β,7β-dihydroxy-25-methoxycucurbita-5,23-dien-19-al (2), karavilagenin D (11), and 12, showed potent inhibitory effects on EBV-EA induction with IC(50) values in the range of 242-264 mol ratio/32 pmol TPA. In addition, compounds 1 and 11 exhibited inhibitory effects on skin-tumor promotion in an in vivo two-stage mouse skin carcinogenesis test based on 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA) as initiator, and with TPA as a promoter. Furthermore, upon evaluation of the cytotoxic activities of compounds 1-17 against human cancer cell lines, compounds 2, 5-7, 9, and 14 showed potent activities against HL60 cell line, and compound 2 against SK-BR-3 cell line.

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