Novel linear and step-gradient counter-current chromatography for bio-guided isolation and purification of cytotoxic podophyllotoxins from Dysosma versipellis (Hance)

J Sep Sci. 2013 Mar;36(6):1022-8. doi: 10.1002/jssc.201201038. Epub 2013 Feb 18.


Dysosma versipellis (Hance) is a famous traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of snakebite, weakness, condyloma accuminata, lymphadenopathy, and tumors for thousands of years. In this work, four podophyllotoxin-like lignans including 4'-demethylpodophyllotoxin (1), α-peltatin (2), podophyllotoxin (3), β-peltatin (4) as major cytotoxic principles of D. versipellis were successfully isolated and purified by several novel linear and step gradient counter-current chromatography methods using the systems of hexane/ethyl acetate/methanol/water (4:6:3:7 and 4:6:4:6, v/v/v/v). Compared with isocratic elution, linear and step-gradient elution can provide better resolution and save more time for the separation of photophyllotoxin and its congeners. Their cytotoxicities were further evaluated and their structures were validated by high-resolution electrospray TOF MS and nuclear magnetic resonance spectra. All components showed potent anticancer activity against human hepatoma cells HepG2.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Berberidaceae / chemistry*
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Countercurrent Distribution / methods*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / chemistry
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / isolation & purification*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Inhibitory Concentration 50
  • Molecular Structure
  • Podophyllotoxin / chemistry
  • Podophyllotoxin / isolation & purification*
  • Podophyllotoxin / pharmacology
  • Toxins, Biological / chemistry
  • Toxins, Biological / isolation & purification*
  • Toxins, Biological / pharmacology


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Toxins, Biological
  • Podophyllotoxin