Anti-inflammatory activity of different agave plants and the compound cantalasaponin-1

Molecules. 2013 Jul 10;18(7):8136-46. doi: 10.3390/molecules18078136.


Species of the agave genus, such as Agave tequilana, Agave angustifolia and Agave americana are used in Mexican traditional medicine to treat inflammation-associated conditions. These plants' leaves contain saponin compounds which show anti-inflammatory properties in different models. The goal of this investigation was to evaluate the anti-inflammatory capacity of these plants, identify which is the most active, and isolate the active compound by a bio-directed fractionation using the ear edema induced in mice with 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) technique. A dose of 6 mg/ear of acetone extract from the three agave species induced anti-inflammatory effects, however, the one from A. americana proved to be the most active. Different fractions of this species showed biological activity. Finally the F5 fraction at 2.0 mg/ear induced an inhibition of 85.6%. We identified one compound in this fraction as (25R)-5α-spirostan-3β,6α,23α-triol-3,6-di-O-β-D-glucopyranoside (cantalasaponin-1) through 1H- and 13C-NMR spectral analysis and two dimensional experiments like DEPT NMR, COSY, HSQC and HMBC. This steroidal glycoside showed a dose dependent effect of up to 90% of ear edema inhibition at the highest dose of 1.5 mg/ear.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agave / chemistry*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / analysis
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology*
  • Edema / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Medicine, Traditional
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Plant Preparations / pharmacology
  • Saponins / analysis
  • Saponins / chemistry
  • Saponins / pharmacology*
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Plant Preparations
  • Saponins
  • cantalasaponin-1
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate