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Anticancer Res. 1993 Nov-Dec;13(6A):2165-70.

Inhibitory effects of flavonoids on xanthine oxidase.

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  • 1School of Pharmacy, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, R.O.C.


The stems of Bougainvillea spectabillis Wild (Nyctaginaceae) have been used in folk medicine for hepatis, and spinasterol and quercetin were isolated and characterized from the plant leaves in this study. These constituents have not been previously isolated from Bougainvillea spectabillis W. Quercetin, the flavonoid, was found as active principle because it showed a strong activity on xanthine oxidase inhibition (IC50 = 7.23 microM) in this study as well as in the literature. Since xanthine oxidase serum levels are increased in hepatitis and tumoral brain tissues, quercetin may be used for remission of hepatitis or brain tumor. In order to study the structure-activity relationship of the flavonoids as regards xanthine oxidase inhibition, nine naturally occurring flavonoids have been tested the inhibitory effects on xanthine oxidase, such as baicalein, baicalin, capillarisin, d-catechin, d-epicatechin, hesperidin, liquiritin, puerarin and wogonin. The results showed that baicalein displayed the strongest activity (IC50 = 9.44 microM), followed by wogonin (IC50 = 52.46 microM) and then baicalin (IC50 = 71.73 microns). Baicalein induced uncompetitive inhibition of the enzyme with respect to xanhtine and the apparent inhibition constant (Ki) was 2.48 x 10(-6) M.

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