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  • The cytotoxic profile and antiproliferative and mitochondrial effects of triterpene acid conjugates with mitochondriotropic lipophilic triphenylphosphonium (TPP) and F16 cations were evaluated. Maslinic and corosolic acids chosen as the investigation objects were synthesized from commercially available oleanolic and ursolic acids. Study of the cytotoxic activity of TPP and F16 triterpenoid derivatives against six tumor cell lines demonstrated a comparable synergistic effect in the anticancer activity, which was most pronounced in the case of MCF-7 mammary adenocarcinoma cells and Jurkat and THP-1 leukemia cells. The corosolic and maslinic acid hybrid derivatives caused changes in the progression of tumor cell cycle phases when present in much lower doses than their natural triterpene acid precursors. The treatment of tumor cell lines with the conjugates resulted in the cell cycle arrest in the G1 phase and increase in the cell population in the subG1 phase. The cationic derivatives of the acids were markedly superior to their precursors as inducers of hyperproduction of reactive oxygen species and more effectively decreased the mitochondrial potential in isolated rat liver mitochondria. We concluded that the observed cytotoxic effect of TPP and F16 triterpenoid conjugates is attributable to the ability of these compounds to initiate mitochondrial dysfunctions. Their cytotoxicity, antiproliferative action, and mitochondrial effects depend little on the type of cationic groups used.

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  • The present work aimed to obtain a set of oleanolic acid derivatives with a high level of cytotoxic and antioxidant activities and a low level of toxicity by applying an economical method. Oleanolic acid was alkylated with α,ω-dihalogenoalkane/α,ω-dihalogenoalkene to obtain 14 derivatives of dimer structure. All of the newly obtained compounds were subjected to QSAR computational analysis to evaluate the probability of the occurrence of different types of pharmacological activities depending on the structure of the analysed compound. All dimers were tested for cytotoxicity activity and antioxidant potential. The cytotoxicity was tested on the SKBR-3, SKOV-3, PC-3, and U-87 cancer cell lines with the application of the MTT assay. The HDF cell line was applied to evaluate the tested compounds' Selectivity Index. The antioxidant test was performed with a DPPH assay. Almost all triterpene dimers showed a high level of cytotoxic activity towards selected cancer cell lines, with an IC value below 10 µM. The synthesised derivatives of oleanolic acid exhibited varying degrees of antioxidant activity, surpassing that of the natural compound in several instances. Employing the DPPH assay, compounds , , and emerged as promising candidates, demonstrating significantly higher Trolox equivalents and highlighting their potential for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical applications. Joining two oleanolic acid residues through their C-17 carboxyl group using α,ω-dihalogenoalkanes/α,ω-dihalogenoalkenes resulted in the synthesis of highly potent cytotoxic agents with favourable SIs and high levels of antioxidant activity.

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  • The leaves of (known as Yerba mate), used as a popular beverage, are a very well-recognized plant material with various biological activities, including analeptic (because of caffeine), anti-obesity (phenolics, saponins), antimicrobial, and antiviral (phenolics, saponins). Here, the chemical compositions of the leaves of two European species (× and ) with three varieties each were investigated. The terpenoid, saponin, and polyphenolic fractions were submitted for LC-MS or GC-MS analysis against a standard Mate leaf. In addition, the aroma profiles of all the species were analysed using HS-SPME-Arrow prior to GC-MS analysis. All fractions were subjected to antiviral and cytotoxic assays. We found 86 compounds in all accessions, with limonene, linalool, and -cymene being predominant. There were minor similarities between the volatile compositions of the European and South American species. We found ursolic and oleanolic acid to be the main compounds in the terpenoid fraction. Mono-caffeoylquinic acids and di-caffeoylquinic acids were the main constituents of the polar fractions. About 180 compounds from the saponin group were tentatively identified, of which 9 and 3 were selected as distinctive markers for and , respectively. Based on chemical screening, Silver Queen was chosen as the source of terpenoid and saponin fractions and polyphenol extracts. The most substantial inhibition of cancer cell growth was observed with saponin in the case of the MCF7 (human breast cancer) cell line, while for LoVo and L929 cell lines (human colorectal cancer and reference mouse fibroblasts), it was slightly weaker. These results should be analysed further as a promising chemoprevention of colorectal and gastrointestinal cancers. Saponin and polyphenolic extracts exhibited similar activities against HSV-1 and HAdV-5, with 4-log reduction in virus titres. This study focuses our attention on a field of potential antiviral formulations derived from European holly.

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  • Oleanolic acid (OA) is a vegetable chemical that is present naturally in a number of edible and medicinal botanicals. It has been extensively studied by medicinal chemists and scientific researchers due to its biological activity against a wide range of diseases. A significant number of researchers have synthesized a variety of analogues of OA by modifying its structure with the intention of creating more potent biological agents and improving its pharmaceutical properties. In recent years, chemical and enzymatic techniques have been employed extensively to investigate and modify the chemical structure of OA. This review presents recent advancements in medical chemistry for the structural modification of OA, with a special focus on the biotransformation, semi-synthesis and relationship between the modified structures and their biopharmaceutical properties.

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  • Oral cancer poses a significant threat to public health worldwide. In addition, because many chemotherapy treatments have negative side effects, natural herbs may be beneficial for oral cancer therapy. Achyranthes aspera (AA), a potential medicinal herb, exerts various pharmacological and biochemical activities.

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  • The rapid emergence of antibiotic resistance and the scarcity of novel antibacterial agents have necessitated an urgent pursuit for the discovery and development of novel antibacterial agents against multidrug-resistant bacteria. This study involved the design and synthesis of series of novel indole-benzosulfonamide oleanolic acid (OA) derivatives, in which the indole and benzosulfonamide pharmacophores were introduced into the OA skeleton semisynthetically. These target OA derivatives show antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus strains in vitro and in vivo. Among them, derivative c17 was the most promising antibacterial agent while compared with the positive control of norfloxacin, especially against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in vitro. In addition, derivative c17 also showed remarkable efficacy against MRSA-infected murine skin model, leading to a significant reduction of bacterial counts during this in vivo study. Furthermore, some preliminary studies indicated that derivative c17 could effectively inhibit and eradicate the biofilm formation, disrupt the integrity of the bacterial cell membrane. Moreover, derivative c17 showed low hemolytic activity and low toxicity to mammalian cells of NIH 3T3 and HEK 293T. These aforementioned findings strongly support the potential of novel indole-benzosulfonamide OA derivatives as anti-MRSA agents.

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  • Breast cancer has become one of the leading causes of cancer deaths and is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among females worldwide. Despite advances in breast cancer therapy, metastatic disease in most patients will eventually progress due to the development of de novo or secondary resistance. Thus, it is extremely important to seek novel drugs with high effectiveness and low toxicity for systematic therapy.

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  • The pentacyclic triterpenes represent a significant class of plant bioactives with a variety of structures and a wide array of biological activities. These are biosynthetically produced via the mevalonate pathway although occasionally mixed pathways may also occur to introduce structural divergence. Oleanolic acid is one of the most explored bioactive from this class of compounds and possesses a broad spectrum of pharmacological and biological activities including liver protection, anti-cancer, atherosclerosis, anti-inflammation, antibacterial, anti-HIV, anti-oxidative, anti-diabetic etc. This review provides an overview of the latest research findings, highlighting the versatile medicinal and biological potential of oleanolic and its future prospects.

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  • American ginseng (AG) has been reported to have anti-inflammatory effects in many diseases, but the key molecules and mechanisms are unclear. This study aims to evaluate the anti-inflammatory mechanism of AG and identify the key molecules by in vivo and in vitro models. Zebrafish was employed to assess the anti-inflammatory properties of AG and the compounds. Metabolomics was utilized to identify potential anti-inflammatory molecules in AG, while molecular dynamics simulations were conducted to forecast the interaction capabilities of these compounds with inflammatory targets. Additionally, macrophage cell was employed to investigate the anti-inflammatory mechanisms of the key molecules in AG by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and western blotting. Seven potential anti-inflammatory molecules were discovered in AG, with ginsenoside Rg1, ginsenoside Rs3 (G-Rs3), and oleanolic acid exhibiting the strongest affinity for signal transducer and activator of transcription 3. These compounds demonstrated inhibitory effects on macrophage migration in zebrafish models and the ability to regulate ROS levels in both zebrafish and macrophages. The cell experiments found that ginsenoside Rg1, ginsenoside Rs3, and oleanolic acid could promote macrophage M2/M1 polarization ratio and inhibit phosphorylation overexpression of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3. This study revealed the key anti-inflammatory molecules and mechanisms of AG, and provided new evidence of anti-inflammatory for the scientific use of AG.

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  • Severe steatosis in donor livers is contraindicated for transplantation due to the high risk of ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI). Although Ho-1 gene-modified bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (HO-1/BMMSCs) can mitigate IRI, the role of gut microbiota and metabolites in this protection remains unclear. This study aimed to explore how gut microbiota and metabolites contribute to HO-1/BMMSCs-mediated protection against IRI in severe steatotic livers. Using rat models and cellular models (IAR20 and THLE-2 cells) of steatotic liver IRI, this study revealed that ischemia-reperfusion led to significant liver and intestinal damage, heightened immune responses, impaired liver function, and altered gut microbiota and metabolite profiles in rats with severe steatosis, which were partially reversed by HO-1/BMMSCs transplantation. Integrated microbiome and metabolome analyses identified gut microbial metabolite oleanolic acid as a potential protective agent against IRI. Experimental validation showed that oleanolic acid administration alone alleviated IRI and inhibited ferroptosis in both rat and cellular models. Network pharmacology and molecular docking implicated KEAP1/NRF2 pathway as a potential target of oleanolic acid. Indeed, OA experimentally upregulated NRF2 activity, which underlies its inhibition of ferroptosis and protection against IRI. The gut microbial metabolite OA protects against IRI in severe steatotic liver by promoting NRF2 expression and activity, thereby inhibiting ferroptosis.

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