Phytoconstituents with Radical Scavenging and Cytotoxic Activities from Diospyros shimbaensis

Diseases. 2016 Jan 15;4(1):3. doi: 10.3390/diseases4010003.


As part of our search for natural products having antioxidant and anticancer properties, the phytochemical investigation of Diospyros shimbaensis (Ebenaceae), a plant belonging to a genus widely used in East African traditional medicine, was carried out. From its stem and root barks the new naphthoquinone 8,8'-oxo-biplumbagin (1) was isolated along with the known tetralones trans-isoshinanolone (2) and cis-isoshinanolone (3), and the naphthoquinones plumbagin (4) and 3,3'-biplumbagin (5). Compounds 2, 4, and 5 showed cytotoxicity (IC50 520-82.1 μM) against MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. Moderate to low cytotoxicity was observed for the hexane, dichloromethane, and methanol extracts of the root bark (IC50 16.1, 29.7 and > 100 μg/mL, respectively), and for the methanol extract of the stem bark (IC50 59.6 μg/mL). The radical scavenging activity of the isolated constituents (1-5) was evaluated on the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging assay. The applicability of the crude extracts and of the isolated constituents for controlling degenerative diseases is discussed.

Keywords: DPPH; Diospyros shimbaensis; Ebenaceae; MDA-MB-231; cytotoxicity; naphthoquinoes; radical scavenging; tetralones.