Hedgehog antagonists cyclopamine and dihydroveratramine can be mistaken for each other in Veratrum album

J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2010 Nov 2;53(3):497-502. doi: 10.1016/j.jpba.2010.05.024.


A toxic plant, Veratrum album (ssp. viriscens), was found to have an inhibitory effect on Hedgehog (Hh), a developmental signaling pathway that has been shown to be active during development, in adult stem cells and in numerous human tumors. Based on earlier studies it was believed that the known Hh inhibitor cyclopamine was present in V. album (ssp. viriscens). Here we show that instead of cyclopamine, dihydroveratramine (DHV) was found in V. album (ssp. viriscens). These compounds are easily mistaken for each other, as both substances share the same molecular weight, and the same main MS/MS fragments. DHV was found to be a less potent Hh inhibitor compared to cyclopamine. This is the first reported occurrence of DVH in nature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Hedgehog Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Spectrophotometry, Ultraviolet
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • Veratrum / chemistry*
  • Veratrum Alkaloids / analysis*
  • Veratrum Alkaloids / pharmacology


  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Veratrum Alkaloids
  • cyclopamine