Screening of promising chemotherapeutic candidates from plants against human adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (V): coumarins and alkaloids from Boenninghausenia japonica and Ruta graveolens

J Nat Med. 2017 Jan;71(1):170-180. doi: 10.1007/s11418-016-1046-5. Epub 2016 Oct 13.


During the course of our studies towards the identification of promising chemotherapeutic candidates from plants against two human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I-infected T-cell lines (MT-1 and MT-2), we screened 17 extracts from 9 rutaceous plants against MT-1 and MT-2 cells. The extracts from the aerial parts and roots of Boenninghausenia japonica, as well as the leaves and roots of Ruta graveolens showed potent antiproliferative effects. After activity-guided fractionation, we isolated 44 compounds from two rutaceous plants, including three new compounds (1-3), which were classified into 26 coumarin analogs (13 coumarins, 8 furanocoumarins, 4 dihydrofuranocoumarins and one dihydropyranocoumarin), 15 alkaloid analogs (7 quinolone alkaloids, 4 acridone alkaloids, 3 furanoquinoline alkaloids and one tetrahydroacridone alkaloid) and 3 flavonoid glycosides. Structure-activity relationship studies were also evaluated. The coumarin compounds (2, 3 and 7-9) bearing a 3-dimethylallyl moiety showed potent activity. Similarly, of all the furanocoumarins evaluated in the current study, compound 17 bearing a 3-dimethylallyl group also showed potent activity. A dihydrofuranocoumarin (27) bearing a 3-dimethylallyl moiety showed the most potent activity. Following 27, compound 28 showed potent activity. These results therefore suggested that the presence of a 3-dimethylallyl moiety was important to the antiproliferative activity of these coumarin analogs.

Keywords: Adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma; Alkaloid; Boenninghausenia japonica; Coumarin; Ruta graveolens; Screening.

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / chemistry*
  • Coumarins / chemistry*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology
  • Furocoumarins / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia-Lymphoma, Adult T-Cell / drug therapy*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Ruta / chemistry*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Alkaloids
  • Coumarins
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Furocoumarins
  • Plant Extracts