Macrophage activating activity of pyrrole alkaloids from Morus alba fruits

J Ethnopharmacol. 2013 Jan 9;145(1):393-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2012.11.007. Epub 2012 Nov 16.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: The fruits of Morus alba have been traditionally used as a tonic to enhance immune responses.

Materials and methods: The macrophage activating constituents of Morus alba fruits were purified using various column chromatography techniques. The structures of isolated compounds were determined on the basis of spectroscopic data interpretation such as 1D and 2D NMR analysis. The macrophage activating activities of isolated compounds were evaluated by measuring the production of nitric oxide, TNF-α and IL-12 in RAW 264.7 cells. The phagocytic activity was also evaluated.

Results: Five pyrrole alkaloids, 5-(hydroxymethyl)-1H-pyrrole-2-carboxaldehyde (1), 2-formyl-1H-pyrrole-1-butanoic acid (2), 2-formyl-5-(hydroxymethyl)-1H-pyrrole-1-butanoic acid (3), 2-formyl-5-(methoxymethyl)-1H-pyrrole-1-butanoic acid (4) and Morrole A (5) were isolated from the fruits of Morus alba. Morrole A (5) is first reported in nature and other pyrrole alkaloids (1-4) are first reported from Morus species. Among the isolated compounds, compounds 3 and 4 significantly activated macrophage activity by the enhancement of nitric oxide, TNF-α and IL-12 production, and the stimulation of phagocytic activity in RAW 264.7 cells.

Conclusion: Pyrrole alkaloids, including a new compound, were isolated from Morus alba fruits. These compounds activated macrophage activity in RAW 264.7 cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / analysis
  • Alkaloids / isolation & purification
  • Alkaloids / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Interleukin-12 / biosynthesis
  • Macrophages / drug effects*
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Molecular Structure
  • Morus / chemistry
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis
  • Phagocytosis / drug effects*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Pyrroles / analysis
  • Pyrroles / isolation & purification
  • Pyrroles / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis


  • Alkaloids
  • Plant Extracts
  • Pyrroles
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interleukin-12
  • Nitric Oxide