Sesquilignans: Current research and potential prospective

Eur J Med Chem. 2024 May 5:271:116445. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2024.116445. Epub 2024 Apr 25.


Lignans are widely distributed in nature, primarily found in the xylem and resins of plants, with the constituent units C6-C3, and their dimers are the most common in plants. In recent years, the trimeric sesquilignans have also received increasing attention from scholars. More than 200 derivatives have been isolated and identified from nearly 50 families, most of which are different types (monoepoxy lignans, bisepoxy lignans, benzofuran lignans) connected with simple phenylpropanoids through ether bonds, C-C bonds, and oxygen-containing rings to constitute sesquilignans. Some of them also possess pharmacological properties, including antioxidants, hepatoprotectives, antitumors, anti-inflammatory properties, and other properties. In addition, the chemical structure of sesquilignans is closely related to the pharmacological activity, and chemical modification of methoxylation enhances the pharmacological activity. In contrast, phenolic hydroxyl and hydroxyl glycosides reduce the pharmacological activity. Therefore, the present review aims to summarize the chemical diversity, bioactivities, and constitutive relationships to provide a theoretical basis for the more profound development and utilization of sesquilignans.

Keywords: Bioactivity diversity; Chemical diversity; Constitutive relationship; Sesquilignans.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Lignans* / chemistry
  • Lignans* / isolation & purification
  • Lignans* / pharmacology
  • Molecular Structure


  • Lignans
  • Antioxidants
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents