Calophyllum inophyllum L

[From Greek, kalos = beautiful and phullon = leaf]

Physical description: It is a magnificent coastal, large tree which grows wild in the geographical zone spanning India to Fiji. It is often cultivated to decorate parks and roadsides. The bark is grey to fawn, with wide, shallow, markedly boat-shaped fissures and exudes a clear golden yellow sticky gum-resin. Leaves: simple, without stipules and decussate. The blade is broadly elliptic-oblong, large (8cm-16cm x 4cm-8cm), rigid, glossy, and leathery. The apex is round or notched, the base tapered, and there are numerous, distinct, parallel and straight secondary nerves. The inflorescences are long (7cm-8cm) and axillary laxly flowered raceme. The flowers are delicate, showy (1 cm), and supported by long, thin (3cm) and white pedicels. The 4 sepals and petals are whitish, ripening to brown, and are deciduous. The stamens are numerous and yellowish-red, inserted at the base of an ovoid, pinkish and superior ovary developing upward into a long and thin style. The fruits are globose, large, 2 cm in diameter, green drupes (Fig. 91).

Synonymy: Calophyllum bitangor Roxb.

Common names: Alexandrian laurel, Indian poon, sweet-scented Calophyllum; calophylle faux tacamahac (French); bintangor laut (Malay).

Uses: From the seeds of Calophyl-lum inophyllum L. is expressed the dilo oil, which is used to heal wounds and treat ringworms and infected skin. In Indonesia, the gum-resin is used make plasters. It is burned as incense, and is used to remove tumors. The bark is applied to swollen parts and is used to promote urination, remove blood from urine and treat gonorrhea. A maceration of leaves is applied to the inflamed eyes. In the Philippines, the juice expressed from the leaves is used to heal hemorrhoids. In Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, the gum resin is used to heal ulcers and infected wounds. In India, the oil expressed from the seeds is used to soothe inflamed parts and exanthaematous eruptions.

Fig. 91. Calophyllum inophyllum L.

Pharmaceutical interest: Anti-HIV property: In regard to the antiviral property of Calophyllum species, a number of experiments conducted both in vitro and in vivo have clearly demonstrated that dipyranocoumarins are able to inhibit the enzymatic activity of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus type-1 reverse-transcriptase. Calanolides A and B characterized from Calophyllum lanigerum inhibit Human Immunodeficiency Virus type-1 reverse-transcriptase as well as the replication and the cytopathicity of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus type-1 with respective EC50 values of 0.1 ßM and 0.4 ßM (KashmanY etal., 1992). From Calophyllum inophyllum L., costatolide, inophyllum P, and inophyllum B inhibit the replication of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (Patil AD etal., 1993;SpinoC etal., 1998). Reverse-transcriptase is a key enzyme in the life-cycle of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Retrovirus in general. Once the Human Immunodeficiency Virus binds to the CD4 surface glycoprotein of a lymphocyte, the viral envelope fuses with the cytoplasmic membrane of the lymphocyte and the viral RNA is internalized into the lymphocyte where it starts to replicate.

Calanolide A

The transcription of the viral RNA into DNA is set into motion by a viral reverse-transcriptase, which is a

Calanolide A

heterodimer consisting of 61 KDa and 52 KDa subunits. The viral DNA synthesized is then integrated into the genome of the lymphocyte in a process dependent on a viral endonucle-ase. When the portion of viral DNA is activated, the genetic machinery of the host-cell is then used to replicate several new viruses which finally kill the cell. Reverse-transcriptase inhibitors have attracted a great deal of interest on account of their ability to treat Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection. One such compound is zidovu-dine(AZT®), which is a close structural analogue of thymidine, from which it differs by a 3-azido group instead of a 3 -hydroxyl group.

Another example is zalcitabine (ddC®), which is a close structural analogue of deoxycitidine, containing a hydrogen atom on the 3' carbon instead of a hydroxyl group. After phosphorylation, zidovudine is incorporated into the growing DNA chain via viral reverse-transcriptase. The absence of hydroxyl group on the 3' carbon causes chain termination and therefore inhibition of reverse-transcriptase (Fig. 92).

Other properties: A series of 4-phenylcoumarins, including calocoumarin A, inhibit the early expression by Raji cells of Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) antigen induced by 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) and display an anti-carcinogenic property in vivo.

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