Molecules (Basel, Switzerland)

Wild Argentinian Amaryllidaceae, a new renewable source of the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor galanthamine and other alkaloids.

PMID 23149565


The Amaryllidaceae family is well known for its pharmacologically active alkaloids. An important approach to treat Alzheimer’s disease involves the inhibition of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE). Galanthamine, an Amaryllidaceae alkaloid, is an effective, selective, reversible, and competitive AchE inhibitor. This work was aimed at studying the alkaloid composition of four wild Argentinian Amarillydaceae species for the first time, as well as analyzing their inhibitory activity on acetylcholinesterase. Alkaloid content was characterized by means of GC-MS analysis. Chloroform basic extracts from Habranthus jamesonii, Phycella herbertiana, Rhodophiala mendocina and Zephyranthes filifolia collected in the Argentinian Andean region all contained galanthamine, and showed a strong AChE inhibitory activity (IC50 between 1.2 and 2 µg/mL). To our knowledge, no previous reports on alkaloid profiles and AChEIs activity of wild Argentinian Amarillydaceae species have been publisihed. The demand for renewable sources of industrial products like galanthamine and the need to protect plant biodiversity creates an opportunity for Argentinian farmers to produce such crops.

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