Abstract: Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by pathogenic oligomerization, aggregation, and deposition of amyloid beta peptide (Aβ), resulting in severe neuronal toxicity and associated cognitive dysfunction. In particular, increases in the absolute or relative level of the major long form of Aβ, Aβ42, are associated with increased cellular toxicity and rapidity of disease progression. As a result of this observation, screening to identify potential drugs to reduce the level of Aβ42 have been undertaken by way of modulating the proteolytic activity of the gamma secretase complex without compromising its action on other essential substrates such as Notch. In this review we summarize results from a program that sought to develop such gamma secretase modulators based on novel natural products identified in the extract of Actaea racemosa, the well-known botanical black cohosh. Following isolation of compound 1 (SPI-014), an extensive medicinal chemistry effort was undertaken to define the SAR of 1 and related semisynthetic compounds. Major metabolic and physicochemical liabilities in 1 were overcome including replacement of both the sugar and acetate moieties with more stable alternatives that improved drug-like properties and resulted in development candidate 25 (SPI-1865). Unanticipated off-target adrenal toxicity, however, precluded advancement of this series of compounds into clinical development.
Abstract: Background:Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer is one of the most frequently used herbs in the world. The roots of Panax ginseng have been used as a traditional tonic and medicine for thousands of years in Korea and China. Today, ginseng root is used as a dietary supplement and complementary medicine and for adjuvant therapeutics worldwide. The efficacy of ginseng has been studied in a wide range of basic research and clinical studies. However, it has been reported that the results from clinical studies are conflicting, and they depend on the parameters of the protocol design including the conditions of the participants and the types of ginseng used such as red ginseng, white ginseng, fermented ginseng and cultured ginseng. [...]
Abstract: Background: Vinpocetine, a semi-synthetic derivative of vincamine, is a popular dietary supplement used for the treatment of several central nervous system related disorders. Despite its wide use, no pharmacokinetic drug interaction studies are reported in the literature. Due to increasing use of dietary supplements in combination with conventional drugs, the risk of adverse effects is on the rise. As a preliminary step to predict a possibility of drug interaction during concomitant use of vinpocetine and conventional drugs, this study was carried out to evaluate the effects of vinpocetine on three main regulators of pharmacokinetic drug interactions namely, cytochromes P450 (CYPs), P-glycoprotein (P-gp), and Pregnane X receptor (PXR). Methods: Inhibition of CYPs was evaluated by employing recombinant enzymes. The inhibition of P-gp was determined by calcein-AM uptake method in transfected and wild type MDCKII cells. Modulation of PXR activity was monitored through a reporter gene assay in HepG2 cells. Results: Vinpocetine showed a strong inhibition of P-gp (EC50 8 µM) and a moderate inhibition of recombinant CYP3A4 and CYP2D6 (IC50 2.8 and 6.5 µM) with no activity towards CYP2C9, CYP2C19 and CYP1A2 enzymes. In HLM, competitive inhibition of CYP3A4 (IC50 54 and Ki 19 µM) and non-competitive inhibition of CYP2D6 (IC50 19 and Ki 26 µM) was observed. Activation of PXR was observed only at the highest tested concentration of vinpocetine (30 µM) while lower doses were ineffective. Conclusion: Strong inhibition of P-gp by vinpocetine is indicative of a possibility of drug interactions by altering the pharmacokinetics of drugs, which are the substrates of P-gp. However, the effects on CYPs and PXR indicate that vinpocetine may not affect CYP-mediated metabolism of drugs, as the inhibitory concentrations are much greater than the expected plasma concentrations in humans.
Abstract: Yemen is a small country located in the southwestern part of the Arabian Peninsula. Yemen’s coastal lowlands, eastern plateau, and deserts give it a diverse topography, which along with climatic factors make it opulent in flora. Despite the introduction of Western medicinal system during the middle of the twentieth century, herbal medicine still plays an important role in Yemen. In this review, we present a survey of several aromatic plants used in traditional medicine in Yemen, their traditional uses, their volatile chemical compositions, and their biological activities.
Abstract: The aim of this work was to screen extracts from Annona muricata and Annona reticulata in vitro against Plasmodium falciparum. Crude ethanolic extracts, methylene chloride fractions, aqueous fractions, subfractions and isolated compounds (stigmasterol-3-O-β-d-glucopyranoside, lichexanthone, gallic acid and β-sitosterol-3-O-β-d-glucopyranoside) were tested for cytotoxicity on erythrocytes and Human Foreskin Fibroblasts cells and against the W2 strain of P. falciparum in culture. Results indicated that none of the extracts was cytotoxic at concentrations up to 10 µg/mL. Most of the extracts, fractions and subfractions inhibited the growth of P. falciparum with IC50 values ranging from 0.07 to 3.46 µg/mL. The most potent was the subfraction 30 from A. muricata stem bark (IC50 = 0.07 µg/mL) with a selectivity index of ˃ 142. Subfraction 3 from A. muricata root also exhibited very good activity (IC50 = 0.09 µg/mL) with a high selectivity index (SI ˃ 111). Amongst the isolated compounds, only gallic acid showed activity with IC50 of 3.32 µg/mL and SI > 10. These results support traditional claims for A. muricata and A. reticulata in the treatment of malaria. Given their limited cytotoxicity profile, their extracts qualify as promising starting points for antimalarial drug discovery.
Abstract: For many years now, a number of Western herbs have been widely used in health food products in Japan and as pharmaceuticals in Europe. There are few or no mandated criteria concerning the quality of these herbal health food products, thus clarification is warranted. Here, we performed disintegration tests of 26 pharmaceutical and health food products containing the Western herbs ginkgo leaf and chaste tree fruit, in accord with the Japanese Pharmacopoeia. All eight pharmaceutical herbal products found in the European market completely disintegrated within the defined test time, and 11 of the 18 tested herbal products distributed as health foods in Japan disintegrated. Among the incompatible products identified in the Pharmacopoeia test, some products remained intact after incubation in water for 60 min. To ensure the efficacy of Western herbal products sold as health food in Japan, quality control, including disintegration, is therefore recommended, even though these products are not regulated under the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law.