Special Issue "Therapeutic Potential of Plant Secondary Metabolites in the Treatment of Diseases and Drug Development"

A special issue of Biomedicines (ISSN 2227-9059). This special issue belongs to the section "Drug Metabolism".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2021) | Viewed by 22001

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Pavel B. Drašar
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemistry of Natural Compounds, University of Chemistry and Technology, Technicka 5, CZ 166 28 Prague, Czech Republic
Interests: natural product chemistry; synthesis of heterocycles; non-hormonally active steroids; terpenes; supramolecular systems with chiral natural products; fluorescent labelling
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The opportunity to use the vault of natural products, namely, plant secondary metabolites and their semisynthetic derivatives, in the treatment of diseases is becoming more and more exciting. The development of, among others, vector-driven targeted medicinal drugs as well as therapeutic and diagnostic agents based on the structure of biologically active plant secondary metabolites may shorten the development time for new tools, and could make the tools more effective. Similarly, healing instruments developed from this group of bioactive drugs may bring new knowledge. Sometimes, drugs derived from long-used herbal medicines can be more efficient and much safer. On the other hand, the repurposing of already-known APIs from the kingdom of natural products can open new horizons in their study and utilization.

This Special Issue aims to support and highlight the fields of natural products research that uses the plant secondary metabolites either directly or as pharmacophores for the development of tools for diseases recognition, treatment, and possibly even prevention. Contributions from every corner of the plant secondary metabolites field are welcome, but must be based on concrete, chemically well-defined compound(s). We would not object if a new approach to natural products utilization is supported by solid IT tools.

Therefore, I am taking the liberty to invite all authors from the respective fields to contribute with reviews and original research papers. Hand in hand, we will open more possibilities to proceed towards new ways of disease treatment.

Dr. Pavel B. Drašar
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • plant secondary metabolites
  • natural compounds
  • drug development
  • human diseases treatment
  • natural compounds activity mechanisms
  • drug repurposing
  • drug action modelling

Published Papers (14 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Plant Secondary Metabolites Used for the Treatment of Diseases and Drug Development
Biomedicines 2022, 10(3), 576; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines10030576 - 01 Mar 2022
Viewed by 474
Abstract
The importance of natural products in medicine, and in particular, plant secondary metabolites used for the treatment of diseases and drug development, has been obvious for several thousands of years [...] Full article

Research

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Article
Investigation of Leoligin Derivatives as NF-κΒ Inhibitory Agents
Biomedicines 2022, 10(1), 62; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines10010062 - 28 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 408
Abstract
The transcription factor NF-κB is an essential mediator of inflammation; thus, the identification of compounds that interfere with the NF-κB signaling pathway is an important topic. The natural products leoligin and 5-methoxyleoligin have served as a starting point for the development of NF-κB [...] Read more.
The transcription factor NF-κB is an essential mediator of inflammation; thus, the identification of compounds that interfere with the NF-κB signaling pathway is an important topic. The natural products leoligin and 5-methoxyleoligin have served as a starting point for the development of NF-κB inhibitors. Using our modular total synthesis method of leoligin, modifications at two positions were undertaken and the effects of these modifications on the biological activity were investigated. The first modification concerned the ester functionality, where it was found that variations in this position have a significant influence, with bulky esters lacking Michael-acceptor properties being favored. Additionally, the substituents on the aryl group in position 2 of the tetrahydrofuran scaffold can vary to some extent, where it was found that a 3,4-dimethoxy and a 4-fluoro substitution pattern show comparable inhibitory efficiency. Full article
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Article
Plant Alkaloids Inhibit Membrane Fusion Mediated by Calcium and Fragments of MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV/SARS-CoV-2 Fusion Peptides
Biomedicines 2021, 9(10), 1434; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines9101434 - 10 Oct 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3271
Abstract
To rationalize the antiviral actions of plant alkaloids, the ability of 20 compounds to inhibit calcium-mediated fusion of lipid vesicles composed of phosphatidylglycerol and cholesterol was investigated using the calcein release assay and dynamic light scattering. Piperine, tabersonine, hordenine, lupinine, quinine, and 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine [...] Read more.
To rationalize the antiviral actions of plant alkaloids, the ability of 20 compounds to inhibit calcium-mediated fusion of lipid vesicles composed of phosphatidylglycerol and cholesterol was investigated using the calcein release assay and dynamic light scattering. Piperine, tabersonine, hordenine, lupinine, quinine, and 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine demonstrated the most potent effects (inhibition index greater than 50%). The introduction of phosphatidylcholine into the phosphatidylglycerol/cholesterol mixture led to significant changes in quinine, hordenine, and 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine efficiency. Comparison of the fusion inhibitory ability of the tested alkaloids, and the results of the measurements of alkaloid-induced alterations in the physical properties of model membranes indicated a potent relationship between a decrease in the cooperativity of the phase transition of lipids and the ability of alkaloids to prevent calcium-mediated vesicle fusion. In order to use this knowledge to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic, the ability of the most effective compounds to suppress membrane fusion induced by fragments of MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV/SARS-CoV-2 fusion peptides was studied using the calcein release assay and confocal fluorescence microscopy. Piperine was shown to inhibit vesicle fusion mediated by both coronavirus peptides. Moreover, piperine was shown to significantly reduce the titer of SARS-CoV2 progeny in vitro in Vero cells when used in non-toxic concentrations. Full article
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Article
Oral Capsaicinoid Administration Alters the Plasma Endocannabinoidome and Fecal Microbiota of Reproductive-Aged Women Living with Overweight and Obesity
Biomedicines 2021, 9(9), 1246; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines9091246 - 17 Sep 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 845
Abstract
Capsaicinoids, the pungent principles of chili peppers and prototypical activators of the transient receptor potential of the vanilloid type-1 (TRPV1) channel, which is a member of the expanded endocannabinoid system known as the endocannabinoidome (eCBome), counteract food intake and obesity. In this exploratory [...] Read more.
Capsaicinoids, the pungent principles of chili peppers and prototypical activators of the transient receptor potential of the vanilloid type-1 (TRPV1) channel, which is a member of the expanded endocannabinoid system known as the endocannabinoidome (eCBome), counteract food intake and obesity. In this exploratory study, we examined the blood and stools from a subset of the participants in a cohort of reproductive-aged women with overweight/obesity who underwent a 12-week caloric restriction of 500 kcal/day with the administration of capsaicinoids (two capsules containing 100 mg of a capsicum annuum extract (CAE) each for a daily dose of 4 mg of capsaicinoids) or a placebo. Samples were collected immediately before and after the intervention, and plasma eCBome mediator levels (from 23 participants in total, 13 placebo and 10 CAE) and fecal microbiota taxa (from 15 participants in total, 9 placebo and 6 CAE) were profiled using LC–MS/MS and 16S metagenomic sequencing, respectively. CAE prevented the reduced caloric-intake-induced decrease in beneficial eCBome mediators, i.e., the TRPV1, GPR119 and/or PPARα agonists, N-oleoyl-ethanolamine, N-linoleoyl-ethanolamine and 2-oleoyl-glycerol, as well as the anti-inflammatory N-acyl-ethanolamines N-docosapentaenyl-ethanolamine and N-docosahexaenoyl-ethanolamine. CAE produced few but important alterations in the fecal microbiota, such as an increased relative abundance of the genus Flavonifractor, which is known to be inversely associated with obesity. Correlations between eCBome mediators and other potentially beneficial taxa were also observed, thus reinforcing the hypothesis of the existence of a link between the eCBome and the gut microbiome in obesity. Full article
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Article
Betulinic Acid Decorated with Polar Groups and Blue Emitting BODIPY Dye: Synthesis, Cytotoxicity, Cell-Cycle Analysis and Anti-HIV Profiling
Biomedicines 2021, 9(9), 1104; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines9091104 - 28 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1048
Abstract
Betulinic acid (BA) is a potent triterpene, which has shown promising potential in cancer and HIV-1 treatment. Here, we report a synthesis and biological evaluation of 17 new compounds, including BODIPY labelled analogues derived from BA. The analogues terminated by amino moiety showed [...] Read more.
Betulinic acid (BA) is a potent triterpene, which has shown promising potential in cancer and HIV-1 treatment. Here, we report a synthesis and biological evaluation of 17 new compounds, including BODIPY labelled analogues derived from BA. The analogues terminated by amino moiety showed increased cytotoxicity (e.g., BA had on CCRF-CEM IC50 > 50 μM, amine 3 IC50 0.21 and amine 14 IC50 0.29). The cell-cycle arrest was evaluated and did not show general features for all the tested compounds. A fluorescence microscopy study of six derivatives revealed that only 4 and 6 were detected in living cells. These compounds were colocalized with the endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria, indicating possible targets in these organelles. The study of anti-HIV-1 activity showed that 8, 10, 16, 17 and 18 have had IC50i > 10 μM. Only completely processed p24 CA was identified in the viruses formed in the presence of compounds 4 and 12. In the cases of 2, 8, 9, 10, 16, 17 and 18, we identified not fully processed p24 CA and p25 CA-SP1 protein. This observation suggests a similar mechanism of inhibition as described for bevirimat. Full article
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Article
The Combined Effect of Branching and Elongation on the Bioactivity Profile of Phytocannabinoids. Part I: Thermo-TRPs
Biomedicines 2021, 9(8), 1070; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines9081070 - 23 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 671
Abstract
The affinity of cannabinoids for their CB1 and CB2 metabotropic receptors is dramatically affected by a combination of α-branching and elongation of their alkyl substituent, a maneuver exemplified by the n-pentyl -> α,α-dimethylheptyl (DMH) swap. The effect of this change [...] Read more.
The affinity of cannabinoids for their CB1 and CB2 metabotropic receptors is dramatically affected by a combination of α-branching and elongation of their alkyl substituent, a maneuver exemplified by the n-pentyl -> α,α-dimethylheptyl (DMH) swap. The effect of this change on other cannabinoid end-points is still unknown, an observation surprising since thermo-TRPs are targeted by phytocannabinoids with often sub-micromolar affinity. To fill this gap, the α,α-dimethylheptyl analogues of the five major phytocannabinoids [CBD (1a), Δ8-THC (6a), CBG (7a), CBC (8a) and CBN (9a)] were prepared by total synthesis, and their activity on thermo-TRPs (TRPV1-4, TRPM8, and TRPA1) was compared with that of one of their natural analogues. Surprisingly, the DMH chain promoted a shift in the selectivity toward TRPA1, a target involved in pain and inflammatory diseases, in all investigated compounds. A comparative study of the putative binding modes at TRPA1 between DMH-CBC (8b), the most active compound within the series, and CBC (8a) was carried out by molecular docking, allowing the rationalization of their activity in terms of structure–activity relationships. Taken together, these observations qualify DMH-CBC (8b) as a non-covalent TRPA1-selective cannabinoid lead that is worthy of additional investigation as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent. Full article
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Article
Triterpenoid–PEG Ribbons Targeting Selectivity in Pharmacological Effects
Biomedicines 2021, 9(8), 951; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines9080951 - 03 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 617
Abstract
(1) Background: To compare the effect of selected triterpenoids with their structurally resembling derivatives, designing of the molecular ribbons was targeted to develop compounds with selectivity in their pharmacological effects. (2) Methods: In the synthetic procedures, Huisgen 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition was applied as a [...] Read more.
(1) Background: To compare the effect of selected triterpenoids with their structurally resembling derivatives, designing of the molecular ribbons was targeted to develop compounds with selectivity in their pharmacological effects. (2) Methods: In the synthetic procedures, Huisgen 1,3-dipolar cycloaddition was applied as a key synthetic step for introducing a 1,2,3-triazole ring as a part of a junction unit in the molecular ribbons. (3) Results: The antimicrobial activity, antiviral activity, and cytotoxicity of the prepared compounds were studied. Most of the molecular ribbons showed antimicrobial activity, especially on Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterococcus faecalis, with a 50–90% inhibition effect (c = 25 µg·mL−1). No target compound was effective against HSV-1, but 8a displayed activity against HIV-1 (EC50 = 50.6 ± 7.8 µM). Cytotoxicity was tested on several cancer cell lines, and 6d showed cytotoxicity in the malignant melanoma cancer cell line (G-361; IC50 = 20.0 ± 0.6 µM). Physicochemical characteristics of the prepared compounds were investigated, namely a formation of supramolecular gels and a self-assembly potential in general, with positive results achieved with several target compounds. (4) Conclusions: Several compounds of a series of triterpenoid molecular ribbons showed better pharmacological profiles than the parent compounds and displayed certain selectivity in their effects. Full article
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Article
Tanshinone IIA Downregulates Lipogenic Gene Expression and Attenuates Lipid Accumulation through the Modulation of LXRα/SREBP1 Pathway in HepG2 Cells
Biomedicines 2021, 9(3), 326; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines9030326 - 23 Mar 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1817
Abstract
Abnormal and excessive accumulation of lipid droplets within hepatic cells is the main feature of steatosis and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) or metabolic-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD). Dysregulation of lipogenesis contributes to hepatic steatosis and plays an essential role in the pathological [...] Read more.
Abnormal and excessive accumulation of lipid droplets within hepatic cells is the main feature of steatosis and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) or metabolic-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD). Dysregulation of lipogenesis contributes to hepatic steatosis and plays an essential role in the pathological progress of MAFLD. Tanshinone IIA is a bioactive phytochemical isolated from Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge and exhibits anti-inflammatory, antiatherosclerotic and antihyperlipidemic effects. In this study, we aimed to investigate the lipid-lowering effects of tanshinone IIA on the regulation of lipogenesis, lipid accumulation, and the underlying mechanisms in hepatic cells. We demonstrated that tanshinone IIA can significantly inhibit the gene expression involved in de novo lipogenesis including FASN, ACC1, and SCD1, in HepG2 and Huh 7 cells. Tanshinone IIA could increase phosphorylation of ACC1 protein in HepG2 cells. We further demonstrated that tanshinone IIA also could suppress the fatty-acid-induced lipogenesis and TG accumulation in HepG2 cells. Furthermore, tanshinone IIA markedly downregulated the mRNA and protein expression of SREBP1, an essential transcription factor regulating lipogenesis in hepatic cells. Moreover, we found that tanshinone IIA attenuated liver X receptor α (LXRα)-mediated lipogenic gene expression and lipid droplet accumulation, but did not change the levels of LXRα mRNA or protein in HepG2 cells. The molecular docking data predicted tanshinone IIA binding to the ligand-binding domain of LXRα, which may result in the attenuation of LXRα-induced transcriptional activation. Our findings support the supposition that tanshinone IIA possesses a lipid-modulating effect that suppresses lipogenesis and attenuates lipid accumulation by modulating the LXRα/SREBP1 pathway in hepatic cells. Tanshinone IIA can be potentially used as a supplement or drug for the prevention or treatment of MAFLD. Full article
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Article
Antitumor Effects of Ursolic Acid through Mediating the Inhibition of STAT3/PD-L1 Signaling in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Cells
Biomedicines 2021, 9(3), 297; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines9030297 - 13 Mar 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1427
Abstract
Targeted therapy based on natural compounds is one of the best approaches against non-small cell lung cancer. Ursolic acid (UA), a pentacyclic triterpenoid derived from medicinal herbs, has anticancer activity. Studies on the molecular mechanism underlying UA’s anticancer activity are ongoing. Here, we [...] Read more.
Targeted therapy based on natural compounds is one of the best approaches against non-small cell lung cancer. Ursolic acid (UA), a pentacyclic triterpenoid derived from medicinal herbs, has anticancer activity. Studies on the molecular mechanism underlying UA’s anticancer activity are ongoing. Here, we demonstrated UA’s anticancer activity and the underlying signaling mechanisms. We used Western blotting and real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction for molecular signaling analysis. We also used in vitro angiogenesis, wound healing, and invasion assays to study UA’s anticancer activity. In addition, we used tumorsphere formation and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays for binding studies. The results showed that UA inhibited the proliferation of A549 and H460 cells in a concentration-dependent manner. UA exerted anticancer effects by inducing G0/G1 cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. It also inhibited tumor angiogenesis, migration, invasion, and tumorsphere formation. The molecular mechanism underlying UA activity involves UA’s binding to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), reducing the level of phospho-EGFR, and thus inhibiting the downstream JAK2/STAT3 pathway. Furthermore, UA reduced the expressions of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), metalloproteinases (MMPs) and programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1), as well as the formation of STAT3/MMP2 and STAT3/PD-L1 complexes. Altogether, UA exhibits anticancer activities by inhibiting MMP2 and PD-L1 expression through EGFR/JAK2/STAT3 signaling. Full article
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Review

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Review
Antitumoral Activities of Curcumin and Recent Advances to ImProve Its Oral Bioavailability
Biomedicines 2021, 9(10), 1476; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines9101476 - 14 Oct 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 802
Abstract
Curcumin, a main bioactive component of the Curcuma longa L. rhizome, is a phenolic compound that exerts a wide range of beneficial effects, acting as an antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer agent. This review summarizes recent data on curcumin’s ability to interfere with [...] Read more.
Curcumin, a main bioactive component of the Curcuma longa L. rhizome, is a phenolic compound that exerts a wide range of beneficial effects, acting as an antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer agent. This review summarizes recent data on curcumin’s ability to interfere with the multiple cell signaling pathways involved in cell cycle regulation, apoptosis and the migration of several cancer cell types. However, although curcumin displays anticancer potential, its clinical application is limited by its low absorption, rapid metabolism and poor bioavailability. To overcome these limitations, several curcumin-based derivatives/analogues and different drug delivery approaches have been developed. Here, we also report the anticancer mechanisms and pharmacokinetic characteristics of some derivatives/analogues and the delivery systems used. These strategies, although encouraging, require additional in vivo studies to support curcumin clinical applications. Full article
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Review
Natural Products, Alone or in Combination with FDA-Approved Drugs, to Treat COVID-19 and Lung Cancer
Biomedicines 2021, 9(6), 689; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines9060689 - 18 Jun 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3284
Abstract
As a public health emergency of international concern, the highly contagious coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been identified as a severe threat to the lives of billions of individuals. Lung cancer, a malignant tumor with the highest mortality rate, has brought significant [...] Read more.
As a public health emergency of international concern, the highly contagious coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been identified as a severe threat to the lives of billions of individuals. Lung cancer, a malignant tumor with the highest mortality rate, has brought significant challenges to both human health and economic development. Natural products may play a pivotal role in treating lung diseases. We reviewed published studies relating to natural products, used alone or in combination with US Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs, active against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and lung cancer from 1 January 2020 to 31 May 2021. A wide range of natural products can be considered promising anti-COVID-19 or anti-lung cancer agents have gained widespread attention, including natural products as monotherapy for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 (ginkgolic acid, shiraiachrome A, resveratrol, and baicalein) or lung cancer (daurisoline, graveospene A, deguelin, and erianin) or in combination with FDA-approved anti-SARS-CoV-2 agents (cepharanthine plus nelfinavir, linoleic acid plus remdesivir) and anti-lung cancer agents (curcumin and cisplatin, celastrol and gefitinib). Natural products have demonstrated potential value and with the assistance of nanotechnology, combination drug therapies, and the codrug strategy, this “natural remedy” could serve as a starting point for further drug development in treating these lung diseases. Full article
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Review
20-Hydroxyecdysone, from Plant Extracts to Clinical Use: Therapeutic Potential for the Treatment of Neuromuscular, Cardio-Metabolic and Respiratory Diseases
Biomedicines 2021, 9(5), 492; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines9050492 - 29 Apr 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1960
Abstract
There is growing interest in the pharmaceutical and medical applications of 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E), a polyhydroxylated steroid which naturally occurs in low but very significant amounts in invertebrates, where it has hormonal roles, and in certain plant species, where it is believed to contribute [...] Read more.
There is growing interest in the pharmaceutical and medical applications of 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E), a polyhydroxylated steroid which naturally occurs in low but very significant amounts in invertebrates, where it has hormonal roles, and in certain plant species, where it is believed to contribute to the deterrence of invertebrate predators. Studies in vivo and in vitro have revealed beneficial effects in mammals: anabolic, hypolipidemic, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, hepatoprotective, etc. The possible mode of action in mammals has been determined recently, with the main mechanism involving the activation of the Mas1 receptor, a key component of the renin–angiotensin system, which would explain many of the pleiotropic effects observed in the different animal models. Processes have been developed to produce large amounts of pharmaceutical grade 20E, and regulatory preclinical studies have assessed its lack of toxicity. The effects of 20E have been evaluated in early stage clinical trials in healthy volunteers and in patients for the treatment of neuromuscular, cardio-metabolic or respiratory diseases. The prospects and limitations of developing 20E as a drug are discussed, including the requirement for a better evaluation of its safety and pharmacological profile and for developing a production process compliant with pharmaceutical standards. Full article
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Review
Natural Products That Changed Society
Biomedicines 2021, 9(5), 472; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines9050472 - 26 Apr 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1573
Abstract
Until the end of the 19th century all drugs were natural products or minerals. During the 19th century chemists succeeded in isolating pure natural products such as quinine, morphine, codeine and other compounds with beneficial effects. Pure compounds enabled accurate dosing to achieve [...] Read more.
Until the end of the 19th century all drugs were natural products or minerals. During the 19th century chemists succeeded in isolating pure natural products such as quinine, morphine, codeine and other compounds with beneficial effects. Pure compounds enabled accurate dosing to achieve serum levels within the pharmacological window and reproducible clinical effects. During the 20th and the 21st century synthetic compounds became the major source of drugs. In spite of the impressive results achieved within the art of synthetic chemistry, natural products or modified natural products still constitute almost half of drugs used for treatment of cancer and diseases like malaria, onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis caused by parasites. A turning point in the fight against the devastating burden of malaria was obtained in the 17th century by the discovery that bark from trees belonging to the genus Cinchona could be used for treatment with varying success. However isolation and use of the active principle, quinine, in 1820, afforded a breakthrough in the treatment. In the 20th century the synthetic drug chloroquine severely reduced the burden of malaria. However, resistance made this drug obsolete. Subsequently artemisinin isolated from traditional Chinese medicine turned out to be an efficient antimalarial drug overcoming the problem of chloroquine resistance for a while. The use of synthetic analogues such as chloroquine or semisynthetic drugs such as artemether or artesunate further improved the possibilities for healing malaria. Onchocerciasis (river blindness) made life in large parts of Africa and South America miserable. The discovery of the healing effects of the macrocyclic lactone ivermectin enabled control and partly elimination of the disease by annual mass distribution of the drug. Also in the case of ivermectin improved semisynthetic derivatives have found their way into the clinic. Ivermectin also is an efficient drug for treatment of lymphatic filariasis. The serendipitous discovery of the ability of the spindle toxins to control the growth of fast proliferating cancer cells armed physicians with a new efficient tool for treatment of some cancer diseases. These possibilities have been elaborated through preparation of semisynthetic analogues. Today vincristine and vinblastine and semisynthetic analogues are powerful weapons against cancer diseases. Full article
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Review
Cannabis sativa: Interdisciplinary Strategies and Avenues for Medical and Commercial Progression Outside of CBD and THC
Biomedicines 2021, 9(3), 234; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines9030234 - 26 Feb 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2114
Abstract
Cannabis sativa (Cannabis) is one of the world’s most well-known, yet maligned plant species. However, significant recent research is starting to unveil the potential of Cannabis to produce secondary compounds that may offer a suite of medical benefits, elevating this unique [...] Read more.
Cannabis sativa (Cannabis) is one of the world’s most well-known, yet maligned plant species. However, significant recent research is starting to unveil the potential of Cannabis to produce secondary compounds that may offer a suite of medical benefits, elevating this unique plant species from its illicit narcotic status into a genuine biopharmaceutical. This review summarises the lengthy history of Cannabis and details the molecular pathways that underpin the production of key secondary metabolites that may confer medical efficacy. We also provide an up-to-date summary of the molecular targets and potential of the relatively unknown minor compounds offered by the Cannabis plant. Furthermore, we detail the recent advances in plant science, as well as synthetic biology, and the pharmacology surrounding Cannabis. Given the relative infancy of Cannabis research, we go on to highlight the parallels to previous research conducted in another medically relevant and versatile plant, Papaver somniferum (opium poppy), as an indicator of the possible future direction of Cannabis plant biology. Overall, this review highlights the future directions of cannabis research outside of the medical biology aspects of its well-characterised constituents and explores additional avenues for the potential improvement of the medical potential of the Cannabis plant. Full article
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