Introduction: Ajuga turkestanica is a plant used in traditional medicine for its high ecdysteroid content, including the presence of the particularly active turkesterone, which possess efficient anabolic activity.
Objectives: To isolate and identify minor ecdysteroids present in a semi-purified plant fraction containing ca. 70% turkesterone.
Material and methods: Multi-step preparative HPLC (combining RP- and NP-HPLC systems) was used to purify the different components present in the turkesterone fraction. Isolated compounds were identified by high-resolution mass spectrometry and 2D-NMR.
Results: Fourteen ecdysteroids (including turkesterone and 20-hydroxyecdysone) were isolated. Seven of these, all bearing an 11α-hydroxy group, were previously unreported.
Conclusion: Ajuga turkestanica ecdysteroids are characterised by the abundance of 11α-hydroxylated compounds and by the simultaneous presence of 24C, 27C, 28C and 29C ecdysteroids. It is expected that even more ecdysteroids are to be found in this plant since the starting material for this study lacked the less polar ecdysteroids. The simultaneous presence of 20-hydroxyecdysone and turkesterone (its 11α-hydroxy analogue) as the two major ecdysteroids suggests that every ecdysteroid is probably present in both 11α-hydroxy and 11-deoxy forms.
Keywords: Ajuga turkestanica; Lamiaceae; phytoecdysteroid.
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